Blog/CYM Blog Treat Them With Mercy by Tricia Tembreull So a priest, a Levite and a Samaritan are walking down the street… Am I the only twisted Catholic who thinks this whenever they hear this Gospel story of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10:25-37? Oh, I am? Wow, that’s embarrassing. Well, regardless, in this Gospel Jesus shares one of the most vivid parables ever of a man who has been robbed of exactly the thing God is calling us to give: mercy. The brutal act of robbery where the man was stripped and beaten to the point of death was itself, a cruel act. Two neighbors passed the man without feeling any compassion for him. We know they are neighbors because Jesus didn’t define them as travelers like He did the Samaritan, who finally cared for him. This sojourner, someone who the man had never met before had more compassion than people who had more than likely known him, dined with him, or even shared in a conversation. Jesus uses this tourist of sorts, kept it simple, and did what had to be done, what he would want to have someone do for him if he was in this situation. He went out of his way and cleaned his wounds, cared for him, traveled with him to an inn, and covered him with dignity. There were so many times in ministry I was more like the priest and the Levite than the traveling Samaritan. I didn’t answer my phone when caller ID informed me that a person I didn’t want to talk to was calling. I appeared busy or in a rush to get somewhere so no one would bother me in the office. I brushed off Core Members when they needed to talk because I didn’t want to hear any more drama. And I took so many teens for granted and failed to look deeper behind the mask of “everything is great” to see what was going on in their lives. Sometimes we ignore the teens in our youth group that we have gotten too comfortable with because they come every week. I know we say to reach out and do relational ministry so new teens can encounter Christ, but often we overlook the wounded teens that come to Life Teen and Edge consistently. We think they are doing great, that they are flawless and don’t have wounds to be bandaged. Often, they are the ones who are beaten and bruised the most and come weekly so someone will notice them, care for them, and help them see their dignity and value. Trust me; there will be times when the wounds will be impossible to ignore, but there are more teens silently suffering than we realize. Christ is calling us to love Him with all our heart, all our being, all our strength, and all our minds. That means we need to be moved by compassion, give even when it hurts to give, recognize that your power comes from the Lord, not yourself, and have clarity of mind to love wisely. Most importantly, accept everyone as your neighbor and treat him or her as you would want to be treated. When you feel like no one notices you, God is calling you to recognize someone all the more. When you feel like no one understands what you are going through, pay attention to how you lack understanding in certain relationships and situations. When you are tired and lack patience, God desires you to be patient with someone that tries your patience in your life. When you are hurting, reach out to someone who is hurting more and comfort them the way you desire to be comforted. God is calling us to acknowledge our wounds and open our eyes to our troubled brothers and sisters around us. Heaven’s entrance gate is covered with the bandages, crutches and cast our bodies once needed to survive. Once we enter eternal life, those bandages dissipate, and God blankets us with the mercy and love we once covered our neighbors in during our earthly life. Never hesitate or overlook someone in the need of God’s mercy.