The Pharisee and Tax Collector
Recently, I have become more aware of Good Samaritans…folks who go the distance without being “the anointed one.” The other night at the church dinner, I watched two young girls (maybe age 6 or 7), going from table to table picking up plates left behind and then bouncing into the kitchen, where I was working, asking for a bucket so they could wash off the table.
The other morning at work, I met the granddaughter of a patient who was going to give her grandfather her oldest and favorite stuff animal for his overnight stay at the hospital. Later that morning, I watched one of the food servers at the hospital cafeteria, carefully assist a man with physical blindness not only with his plate, but moreover he took the time to make sure the place he had chosen met the man’s needs.
I suppose each action in itself seems like nothing…but what I asked myself “the adult doing kitchen work,” or “the chaplain doing pre-surgery visits,” or “staff chaplain eating lunch” was…would I have be as happy, as generous, as present in my carrying out any given action named, as those named above?
I struggle at times with bringing forth the “right attitude” with the “right action.” In this week’s gospel we hear the story of the tax collector and the Pharisee praying in the synagogue. (Luke 18:9-14) The Pharisee thanks God for doing all the right things from a place of pride. The tax collector asks God for mercy from a place of humility. How might I seek this week to move forward in my daily actions from a place of humility?
Perhaps my Samaritans have already laid out the ground work for this question…move forward from a place of enthusiasm, give from a spirit of generosity, and show up being ready to give, but also be present.