Someone once told me the story of Ghandhi who while stepping aboard a train, lost his shoe. Unable to get it back because the train was moving he took off his other shoe and threw it down the track so that it landed near the first one. His companions was amazed and asked why he’d done it. Ghandi smiled and said ‘The poor man who finds the shoe lying on the track will now have a pair he can use.’


I read somewhere that we are only as Christian as our willingness to respond to those in need, a very powerful statement to make for those who think that religious practice equates to Christianity.  It’s by our love that we show how Christian we are. It’s the very heart of the Gospel.


What is the greatest commandment, the lawyer asked Jesus who replied ‘love God, your neighbour and yourself.’ The lawyer then asks ‘who is my neighbour.’ Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan to answer him. Everyone is our neighbour.


The story reminds us that we’re the ones who are to go the extra mile. We’re the ones who are supposed to give without counting the cost. We’re the ones who are to stand with our brothers and sisters who find life difficult. We’re the ones who are not to judge and condemn the alcoholic and the addict and those on the edge of society.


Unless our prayer and our spirituality is teaching us how to love then we haven’t begun to understand what Jesus is about and our religious practice is empty. If we find within ourselves self -righteousness and prejudice rather than love, then ask the Lord to heal and to give the heart of the Good Samaritan so that we will be able to do what Jesus invites us to do, to love without counting the cost.