“Which of these three was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” He said,
“The one who showed him mercy.” (Luke 10:29)
In Luke 10, Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan to interpret what it means to love “your neighbor
as yourself.” On the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, a Samaritan finds a man beaten by robbers and does not
steer clear, unlike others who have passed by. He crosses the road to reach the man in need because as, Luke
says, “he was moved with pity.” A more literal translation of the Greek is “his heart was melting.”
Liberation theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez writes that justice work requires us to love as people of flesh and
blood, to love with hearts that melt when we encounter neighbors who are in need. Liberation, Gutiérrez
writes, will not come from cold religious obligation or a charitable sense of duty. It will come not from
mechanical rationalizations of our mind but from authentic, fleshy, heart connections. God works among us,
freeing us, opening our hearts, helping us become more fully human, or humane, through the relationships
that grow between neighbors.
Recall a human need that makes your heart melt — poverty, hunger, war, incarceration, etc. Breathe.
Notice thoughts and feelings that arise.
Imagine yourself coming across a stranger in need as you travel. What does this stranger look like? What do they say?
What do they need? Allow your heart to melt in this moment. Pay attention to the feeling of compassion, connection
and mercy. How does this feeling hurt? How does it set you free?
Free me for love, O God, so I can live with heart