Compassionate towards strangers

by Bp José Luis IMC

Bishop’s address to the students graduating
at Good Shepherd Catholic College of Health Sciences

“Coming to the graduating students, I would like to add a word which comes from our Christian faith.

Your life has certainly been marked by prayer:

  • When you chose to come to the college, you prayed, to get a place
  • When you wrote exams, certainly you prayed you would pass 
  • As you were studying, I hope you prayed for those who were paying the fees
  • As your studies came to an end, you prayed you would graduate 
  • You will most probably pray that you get a job

Allow me now to invite you to add another prayer:

Pray that the Word of the Lord leads you. In our prayer we normally tell God what we need and how we want it. There is nothing wrong with that. Our weakness is to leave Jesus out from the way we live. In this case from the way we work. We might pray to get a job, we might thank God when we get it, but then we might choose to leave God out of the way we work.

I do hope and pray that – as Christians – you do have a passage that motivates how you want to do your service. The Catholic Nurses Guild chose: “See Jesus in every person”. It is based on Matthew 25:36 “I was sick and you came to visit me”.

I would like to suggest to you the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10). It is an amazing passage because there are 10 verbs showing the compassion of the Good Samaritan:

  • went to him
  • bandaged his wounds, 
  • poured on them oil and wine, 
  • put the man on his own donkey (he had to then walk next to it)
  • brought him to an inn 
  • took care of him 
  • stayed with him all night 
  • in the morning he took out his own money 
  • promised to be back and 
  • to reimburse any extra expense

All this for a complete stranger! 

The Good Samaritan does not know if that man by the road was robbed or if he himself is the thief who got beaten up. He does not know if he was violent or a victim of violence. The Good Samaritan only knows that this man needs help and he chose to have compassion.

The parable is – in fact – a picture of Jesus himself. Jesus is the Good Samaritan who comes to us and cares for us no matter our gifts or weaknesses.

This is now your call:

be the ones who sees Jesus in every person
and work in such a way
that people that come to you may see Jesus
– the Good Samaritan – in you.

May you hear this call and respond to it generously: not just with your knowledge and skills but with a compassionate heart. The anguish that the sick experience, calls for care from the heart and from our faith.

Finally, I congratulate you on successfully achieving your training goals at the college. I also offer a word of congratulations to all who have given you the necessary moral, material and financial support. Your success is also their success. Last but not least, may I thank the College Principal and her team for another cohort of college graduates.

God Bless you all!”