Today, like every day, crept into our lives in snatches of time and slivers of light. It simply opens the door to hours and tasks and choices, to new beginnings and to wrapping up the past. Today is intricately linked to yesterday and intimately seamed to tomorrow. Nowhere is that more evident than in the Gospel story of the Good Samaritan.
His today dawned with attentiveness to what he was seeing and doing. He was the one who chose to stop to help a man in need. Assessing the situation, empathy moved him to compassionate action. Secure in the rightness of what he was doing, he gently ministered. He was attentive to what the day presented, alive to the need and capable of doing the best he could with what he had.
After all, the means and the competency to help were his. His yesterdays enabled him to actually make a difference. He had accumulated the knowledge and the resurces to help. One past today enabled him to act with alacrity, without judgement. In otehr words, what he had done earlier was a springboard for what he was able to do in the story.
Ironically, the Samaritan who expected nothing becomes the celebrity hero. The previous passerbys get no billing from history. His ultimate reward was in becoming an example for today.
Amazingly, that one day in his life lead him into tomorrow. He was the one who promised to provide for the care of his neighbor on his return trip. It was not all about that single act; it was about connecting and following up.
The Samaritan shows that each of us is doing the best we can with what we have at the moment. His resources and choices were in the moment, but that is no different than his predecessors who left the man at the side of the road. There is no judgement in the story; it is related with a generosity that leaves only wonder at those who chose to be passerbys. There is no status or reward for the actions of that Samaritan. It is simply a day, time spent in an unexpected way, doing the right thing. For him, it was today.
The truth is that everyday is a today full of moments of choosing what to see, how to respond, how to problem-solve. The magic of daylight illuminates new adventures for every day, casts diamonds before us. The Samaritan of the Gospel reminds us that each day is ours for the living, and the choices made matter.
Today is not a servant to yesterday, but yesterday serves, informs and creates today. Today is not simply a stepping stone to tomorrow; instead, tomorrow grows from the choices and options of today. The bottom line is that today matters. The Good Samaritan illustrated that with an unparalleled clarity. There was no doubt that snatches of time made a difference. And the story leaves haunting questions: How will today be lived? What will today mean when it becomes yesterday? How will today live tomorrow?