If you are interested in all in the Christian faith, you should read this book. Pope Benedict XVI takes various aspects of our faith and puts them into a scriptural context. For example, the parable of the Good Samaritan – the Pope says that the man who lay by the side of the road, beaten, stripped and robbed is symbolic of Adam, and of man in general. He compares the fate that befell this man to the fate of the poor, the afflicted, the victims amongst us. Benedict challenges us to be good neighbours to these people. Taking it a bit further, I have at times tried to imagine myself as each of the characters in the story. I can perfectly understand why some people walked by – he might have been dead, it might have been a trap laid by robbers, it might have slowed me down after the sun had gone down and put my own life in danger!
I can also imagine being the victim of violence and rejection. I have imagined being the innkeeper, trusting that the Samaritan would be back to pay an extra costs, accepting a guest who was clearly going to be “high maintenance.” And occasionally I have wondered if I could ever be the Samaritan – on the fringe, unwelcome in good company, but forgiving and able to do the right thing when no one, not one person, would blame him for walking by.
What kind of neighbour am I to God’s people across this world, some as far away as the other side of my fence?
Not to simplify it, but the Pope’s writings tell us we're on the right track. The Catholic faith is under a lot of pressure these days. If there is some sort of "other" agenda in the Catholic church, I’ve yet to discover it. This Pope speaks of love, a love which transcends religious differences and is rooted in Christ. One doesn't have to be a member of the Catholic faith to agree with that.