Monday, October 3, 2011

Outlawing the Good Samaritan

Last Thursday the state of Alabama enacted the most sweeping immigration law in the country. The Catholic Archbishop of Mobile and other bishops and christian leaders voiced strong opposition to the law not because they support illegal immigration but as Archbishop Rodi said, "The law attacks our core understanding of what it means to be a church."

Thankfully, in it's final form a church cannot be prosecuted for baptizing a baby, feeding the hungry, or any of our fundamental minisrties. Around the christian world the concept of "good Samaritan" has been enshrined in law for centuries in different ways. In some countries it protects the "good Samaritan" from prosecution, in others it goes so far as to make it a crime not to help a person in distress.

Even as much of our world seems to be moving to push religion from the public square, this parable survives. It stands as further proof of natural law, that certain fundamental moral truths are written in the human heart. Even in times of intense and sometimes vitriolic political debate, those fundamental commands like "love thy neighbor" can shine through.

As we struggle with the many problems that we face, today's gospel reminds us that we must keep ourselves firmly anchored to the two great commandments that Christ gave us.