Today’s Gospel invites us to be good Samaritans. We should be alert for opportunities for helping those in need.
Yesterday I heard a funny story about Bishop Galione who was our bishop from 2001 to 2009, At home in Baltimore where beggars often knocked on his car window he always kept dollars in his left coat pocket for handing out. At one intersection a man knocked on his window. Bishop Galeone rolled down the window, gave the man a dollar, and rolled the window up again. But then, the man knocked on the window again, so Bishop rolled down the window, asking the man what he wanted; and the man said, “Might I have a smile with the dollar?”
Like the old saying, “The Lord loved a joyful giver.” I don’t know if that is in the Bible. If it isn’t it should be. By giving a smile with the dollar we are telling the one in need that we like being family with him or her.
I have often told the story of my stopping to help a man stranded on I-95 south of Daytona. I saw him standing next to U-Haul van, holding a five gallon gas can. I gave him a lift down to the next exit where he filled the can, and on the way back he told me his story.
He and his wife were Cubans, but they hadn’t met until they were teenagers in Miami. Married, they had three children, and were settled near Boston where he had a job, but no insurance. When his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer their parents in Miami offered to get her into reasonable health care if they and the kids could come back down.
So they sold what they could, bought tickets for his wife and children to fly down, while he packed belongings in a U-Haul. He was attempting to drive straight down the coast to Miami, but he was sleepy, and he had forgotten to watch the gas gauge.
I watched him pour the gas into the van, and I said goodbye. Then, he said, “I don’t have to ask who you are.”
Sometimes people guess that I am a priest even though I am wearing civies. So, I asked him, “Alright, who am I?
“Why,” he said, “You are the Good Samaritan.”