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in Omaha, Nebraska, since 1878
Reflections on the Daily Readings
from the Perspective of Creighton Students

October 7th, 2013
by
Kaitlin Mullen
Bio
| Email: KaitlinMullen@creighton.edu

Today it is impossible to turn on the news without hearing about tragedy occurring in the world.  It becomes almost easier to just turn the TV off, or better yet, not turn it on at all. There seems to be so much pain and evil going on today that it makes one feel like nothing can be done to help, let alone stop, all of this fear, hatred, and heartache.  However, choosing to not turn on the news, or ignoring the realities of this world is definitely not going to fix anything.

In Jon 1:1–2, God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh and speak out against the wickedness that is occurring there. Instead of following the Lord’s command, Jonah takes the easy way out, and flees to Tarshish. Jonah is choosing to “turn off the news.” He has been informed about the evil that is happening, but does not want to be an advocate, because that is much harder than just leaving.

Advocacy against injustice continues to be the theme in the Gospel reading. In “The Good Samaritan,” Jesus explains to a scholar the way to inherit eternal life is by loving your neighbor. Jesus does this through the anecdote of a man being robbed on the side of a street and a priest and Levite walking by, leaving the man to die. The Samaritan, however, does not just pass by, but rather goes to the man lying on the side of the road and takes care of him.

The references to the priest and Levite are important aspects of this story, because of their positions held within the society. The practice of the time was that the priest and Levite would be rendered unclean had they touched the beaten man, and therefore, could not perform worship or enter the Temple. The Samaritan, however, was already seen as an outcast in society, so touching the man did not impact his abilities.

The societal roles and therefore the behaviors of the men in this story draw a parallel to how society tends to operate today. It takes time and effort for the rich to help the poor, for the healthy to help the sick, or for the whole to help the broken.  Just as in the story of Jonah, it is easier for the priest and Levite to not be advocates, because it is in their interest to just keep walking.  In the same way, it is easier to ignore the news, so one does not have to feel a responsibility to take action.

God is calling us all to be the Samaritan, even if He does not ask us specifically, as He does with Jonah. Being a child of God is not an easy task, and is not something that can be turned on and off when it is convenient.  I recently watched a video of the chemical weapons launched in Syria. I was in shock at the torture that was occurring within the world; children were writhing to catch their breaths, but to no avail. These videos were truly heartbreaking, and I honestly wanted to turn them off, but those children disclosed Jesus. It made me wonder how it would have felt to watch Jesus on the cross, gasping for air. Jesus suffered for us and with us, but He still calls us, daily, to stand up against wickedness and to stop the suffering. The wickedness of the world will not be fixed simply by being informed, but it is the first step in our journey; it is the difference between heading towards Nineveh and jumping on a boat to Tarshish.  We are called to be advocates for one another, no matter who we are to society, because our truest selves are children of God.

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