A bike rider on the Camino lost an invaluable small , metal part of the bike that allowed him to carry belongings. He was looking everywhere on the ground for this little bolt, which I immediately thought of the proverbial “needle in a haystack.” We left him with our eyes peeled to the ground.
Later that day we heard that someone , probably a stranger,found the little part and kept it until he heard about the man and his search. We were amazed that this man and his little bolt were reunited, making the trek for him a possibility.
The gospel for today was the parable of the Good Samaritan in which Jesus teaches us that we are neighbor to each other. Every human being is our neighbor and west become the one who finds AND the one who receives. We must ourselves become the one who receives the love and care if the others. Gospel living transforms all of us into neighbors.
There is a saying along this journey: ” the camino will take care of you,” and it does. Something happens to the human heart on this pilgrimage in which we are all united on the journey. People of all races, cultures and religions , and those of no particular faith tradition , become open to the other in care and compassion.
In all of our journeys we CAN develop this openness to caring about the needs of the other. The stranger can become neighbor. Each one if us is a stranger to countless people we meet. Simply become aware of the other transforms that nameless human being into a person just like ourselves , struggling to connect.
This way of living demands a change in our patterns of how we are present in the world. We need to let go of our screens and phones and ear plugs and reconnect with the world. Even if the others we meet have no interest in making eye contact and living in the present moment. We can pray for that person ; prayer connects us with the other even when they are disinterested.
Being neighbor or becoming one is the heart of discipleship. The camino lends itself to such living but it is still a challenge. Most of us have our phones, I Pads and mini pads and Wi Fi exists in many places along the way.
It’s just as easy to become absorbed in our worlds in such a way that we become disconnected with the very people with whom we are walking.
Finding that little metal part and connecting it with the owner transformed two people into neighbors. These small acts of kindness are what change the world.
How can we all be better neighbors ?
Buen camino. Fr. Frank