St. Francis said, “Preach the Gospel everday and use words only when necessary.” That’s part of the legend of Francis. That quote which came to me by way of a friend who was my adult introduction to a Franciscan way of life. I’m reluctant at times to share the Gospel with friends because the Gospel has been given a bad name by “Bible thumpers” who seem more intent on demonstrations of personal piety than actually living out the story.
St. Francis saw himself as brother and sister to all. I wish I was as optimistic as Francis. I live my life at times both at work and at play with no real evidence of good news. I think, “how can I be good news?” to the people I work with, the children I meet everyday. What is it that the people I work and live with each day need the most?
One of the challenging stories in the New Testament is the story of the Good Samaritan. Who are the outcasts at my work and in my life who I’m asked to bathe and care for?
There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life. Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”–St. Luke, 10:25-37.