This February, as we near the Lenten Season, Catholic Charities would like to take time to focus on the importance of kindness. We reflect on the story of the Good Samaritan to remind us of this theme:
In the story, a Jew was robbed and left to die by his assailants. Two men passed by him but decided to walk away. Then a Samaritan came along. Unlike the other two, he tended to the man’s wounds and brought him to an inn. Then he gave money to the innkeeper saying, “Look after him and when I return, I will reimburse you for any expense you may have”.
In response to the parable, civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. once said:
“I imagine that the first question the priest and Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But by the very nature of his concern, the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”
So, how does the story of the Good Samaritan apply to our own lives? We asked our staff to share impactful stories of kindness they have encountered in their lives:
Administrative Assistant, Judith, shared:
“My family had been traveling through the state of Michoacan in Mexico in the early 2000’s. There’s a beautiful national park called Lago de Camécuaro. My grandfather, being a farmer, only owned a pickup truck. Because of this, about five of us had to ride in the bed of the truck, exposed to the elements. July is the rainy season in those parts; it rains almost every day. We ended up getting caught in a massive storm on our way back. It was impossible to see through the windshield. The roads were very hazardous as well, as small towns with many clay homes and humble commercial stands are set around two lane busy highways.
We pulled over, scared and cold. A family immediately opened their doors to us, sharing their little space. We were able to see their entire belongings. There was not enough seating for us, so they turned over buckets for more seating. They offered us dry blankets under their roof, which did not prevent the powerful storm from seeping through. They also gave us warm beans with fresh tortillas to calm our cold bodies. While there, my grandfather told stories about growing up near this town, and how he wanted his grandchildren to witness where he once called home.
I remember how inviting this family had been.
How could someone that had so little, give without holding back what all they owned in life?
Before we left, my father gave them what money he carried as an act of gratitude for their hospitality. But these strangers did not accept it; almost as if it was rude to pay them for their kindness when we had nothing to protect us from the storm.
I still tear up years later. My grandfather has since passed but he always finds a way to make an appearance in my actions every day.”
Project Manager, Jennifer, shared a recent encounter:
“I was recently at the mall with my daughter (20), and we noticed an elderly woman bundled up against the winter chill, standing at the corner of the parking lot, collecting donations from cars passing by. My daughter asked me to pull over. She got out of the car, and walked over to the woman. She spoke with her for about 10 minutes, gave her a hug, and gave her the $7.00 that she had on her at the time.
Seeing your children offering kindness to strangers is a wonderful blessing. This mom’s heart was bursting with joy. As it turns out, the woman’s husband had recently passed, she had no other family left, and she didn’t have access to any money until the bank could get her husband’s accounts transferred over into her name. She just needed a little help to get her through an extremely difficult time.”
Whether big or small, acts of kindness are imperative. It is through us that God’s love is shown to the world. Going into the Lenten season remember to love one another and be kind.