Do you see me? Do you hear me? Do I matter at all to you? Do you know what I think? Do you know how I feel? I know that these are tough questions and that they are hard to listen to. They are embarrassing questions. I know that you want to turn away, hurry off or pretend that you did not hear.

            Hurry away – that’s what the priest and Levite did when they encountered the man robed, beaten and left alongside the Jericho road. That’s the one Jesus talked about in the Gospel of Luke after being asked, “Who is my neighbor.” A stranger, the third man to come along, heard the injured man. He stopped, took care of his wounds as best he could and then took the injured man to where he could receive the care he needed. The Good Samaritan did the unthinkable. He aided a despised other. The Samaritans and Jews hated each other in those days. The Jews of Jesus’ day were astounded by this parable.

            The priest and the Levite were excused because to touch a dead body would defile them although there were circumstances that would permit them to do so. That’s what we think today. If we interact with unacceptable people, they will rub off on us. We will be defiled. In fact I was once told by a former missionary to the Philippines, “My husband will not eat with you because you eat with black people.”

            Our society is so busy, so desensitized, so fragmented that we do not see or hear one another. We pass each other. We might even speak or wave but we do not see. That is all anyone really wants: is to be noticed, to be heard, to be acknowledged, to be valued.

            Did you speak to a stranger today? Did you offer a word of encouragement to anyone? Did you walk by or just step over the wounded person?  Did you bind up or put ointment on any wounded hurts today? It’s just a question.