The Parable of the Good Samaritan reminds us that almsgiving is an act of charity that shares God’s love with our brothers and sisters in need.
At the end of the parable, Jesus asks his disciples to name who was “neighbor” in the story. Jesus urges his followers to prioritize love and mercy, which motivate us to do for another. Almsgiving is an exercise in mercy—a gift of self for the betterment of another.
Jesus’ invitation is to go out and be the Good Samaritan for others, to break down barriers that make us strangers and instead build bridges that make us neighbors. By going out to encounter others, we necessarily must allow others to encounter us. We walk together. We become companions on the journey. And, we become a church that goes out to encounter, as Pope Francis has so often said.
What act of almsgiving will you undertake this Lent? How will that action respond to Jesus’ invitation to “Go and do likewise”?
Eric Clayton works at Catholic Relief Services. He holds an MA in international media from American University and a BA in international studies and creative writing from Fairfield University. He currently lives in Baltimore with his wife, daughter, and pet hedgehog.