Daily Reflection
October 4th, 2004
Maria Teresa Gaston
Center for Service and Justice
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

“Go and do likewise.”  Luke 10:37

I am one of thousands of pilgrims who have been guided in their faith by the visionary leadership and humble example of Francis of Assisi whose feast we celebrate today.

At times I have regretted the zeal for prayer, poverty, service and non-violence that Francis’ witness enkindled in me. ( I vividly remember at age 16, walking barefoot on my street, Park Avenue, in suburban Milwaukee, reading Kazanzakis’ Francis and overflowing with desire to love and follow Jesus like Francis.)

I can understand why some of the Galatians felt like forsaking the gospel of Christ.  Couldn’t there be a more culturally compatible and comfortable way?

In recent years, my resistance is related to my political responsibility as a Christian.  One of my most troubling faith challenges is highlighted by Jesus’ parable in today’s gospel of how to live out the core of our belief, loving God and neighbor. 

We move to areas of our towns where we do not have to ‘pass’ those who fall victim.

They are all around us, but we are much more insulated and protected in our busy, indoor culture of home, work and individual vehicles.

Technology has made knowledge of the reality of victims much more present in our living room televisions, radio reports and on our computer screens.  As have many of my friends and colleagues, I have chosen to belong to several e-mail listserves that inform me about the reality of suffering and corresponding legislative and organizing proposals to address poverty and injustice nationally and internationally.

I have been too much like the priest and Levite in today’s parable, ‘passing’ on the opportunity to voice my opinion on legislation that affects so many ‘victims of robbers’ in our society and world.  I am lethargic about acting on my love of God and neighbor.

What is going on?  Compassion fatigue?  Overload?  Disorganization?  Some of all of this is true.  I get overwhelmed by needs at the local, state, national and global level and retreat into my world of more immediate demands, giving in to the Tempter who breeds the discouragement that ‘nothing I do will really make any difference.’   Elaine St. James’ books on simplicity are helping.  The witness of so many near and far, our modern St. Francis’s renewing the church, inspire me and help me forgive myself and learn from small steps.

Good and Gracious God, guide us in making time for the big ‘stones in the jar,’ this core work of faith in our lives as 21st century Christians and faithful citizens.  Inspire us to show our love for you through our political action and so heed Jesus’ instruction to ‘go and do’ like the Samaritan who at personal sacrifice treated a suffering, anonymous enemy with mercy.

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.

Let Your Friends Know About This Reflection By Sending Them An E-mail


Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook