The Innkeeper’s Story

When Jesus taught that the greatest commandment was to love God with all your heart, being, strength, and mind, and your neighbor as yourself, he was asked, “And who is my neighbor?” In response, he told a familiar parable—the story of the Samaritan who, while on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, came upon a victim of robbers who had already been passed by a priest and a Levite. The Samaritan traveler, “moved with compassion at the sight,” treated the victim’s wounds and took him to an inn to care for him. Jesus ended the parable by instructing his followers to “Go and do likewise.”

We are all called to be like the Good Samaritan. However, we often overlook two parts of this story.

First, we are told that the Samaritan could not stay at the inn to care for the man until he had healed. He had to continue on his journey. Presumably, business was pressing in Jericho. He gave the innkeeper two silver coins with the instruction, “Take care of him.”

Second, the innkeeper didn’t question the Samaritan about where he found this man, if this man belonged, or why this man had been robbed and beaten. He simply opened his arms to serve his neighbor in need.

Recently, Pope Francis compared Catholic Charities to the innkeeper, “remaining open to heal and provide a safe place for on-going care.” With Catholic Charities Atlanta serving as the innkeeper, you can be a Good Samaritan. It is difficult to always stop on our busy journeys to care for those in need in our community. Our business in Jericho is pressing. But we can give money to the innkeeper, Catholic Charities Atlanta, with the instruction, “Take care of them.”

Like the innkeeper, we at Catholic Charities Atlanta do not pick and choose who we serve. Instead, we care for those in need at our doorstep, because anyone who knocks becomes our neighbor. We serve people of all faiths and backgrounds, not because they are Catholic, but because WE ARE CATHOLIC. Last year, we served nearly 18,000 individuals in need. Many of our clients are trapped in the vicious cycle of the working poor. Many are also facing a life crisis. They are alone and afraid. We evaluate each client’s unique situation and give them tools to become self-sufficient and whole again.

Here are some ways your donation to Catholic Charities Atlanta makes a difference:

It provides access to much-needed benefits and services for a military veteran. It provides legal services to a child who arrives in our country alone, abused, and lost in a world of immigration paperwork and bureaucracy. It provides counseling and parenting classes to a young mother facing an unplanned pregnancy. It provides foreclosure intervention to a family struggling to keep their home. It provides counseling to a couple struggling with marital issues. Finally, it provides a refugee family, fleeing persecution and war in their homeland, with the skills needed to navigate life in the United States.

Please remember the innkeeper with your generosity during this Christmas season of giving. And thank you for being a Good Samaritan. You are living out the everlasting words of Jesus: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

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