A nurse in Venezuela and the Good Samaritan's Lesson

A few days ago, a photograph of a 2-years young child in Venezuela appeared in media. Malnourished and ill with a genetic condition, Anailin Nava, is a mirror that tells us something is deeply wrong with our world. She gets a meagre meal once a day and is suffering owing to a combination of factors -- lack of adequate nutrition, no medical care, poverty, and a general global apathy. The photograph wrenches the gut -- a baby is calling out to the conscience of the world. In The  Creation of Faith, Juan Mascaro writes that ”There are a great many bad actions which people are very anxious to perform efficiently." Venezuela has joined the many places where we have become very efficient. Despite being endowed with the world's largest oil reserves, it has managed to effect, in the words of The New York Times, ”the single largest economic collapse outside of war in at least 45 years."

In the midst of this darkness, Light showed up -- the kind of Light that tells us to keep Faith and work. 

Fabiola Molero is a nurse who worked for over twenty years in hospitals before quitting to work as a volunteer to help the suffering in Venezuela. When she heard of Anailin, she packed some food and supplies -- and set off hiking over thirty five kilometres (i think) to help the child. The New York Times reports --  ”The arrival of the nurse, and the food, made an immediate difference, Ms. Nava said: “Now she’s cheerful.””” 

In the papers of Martin Luther King. Jr., one of the many sermon notes he wrote speaks about ”the good man" being someone ”whose exemplary life will always stand as a flashing light to plague the dozing conscience of mankind. His goodness was not found in his passive commitment to a particular creed, but in his active participation in....life saving deed. His goodness was not found in the fact that his moral pilgrimage had reached its destination point, but in the fact that he made the love ethic a reality as he journeyed life’s highway. He was good because he was a good neighbor." 

He goes on to invoke the Parable of the Good Samaritan from the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament. A traveller lies on the road beaten up, stripped, and possibly almost dead. Two people walk by and ignore the traveller. The third, a Samaritan, stops and helps. Martin writes -- "I can imagine that the first question which the Priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” Then the good Samaritan came by, and by the very nature of his concern reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” The good Samaritan was willing to engage in a dangerous altruism. In his very life he raised the question that always emerges from the good man. We so often ask, “what will happen to my job, my prestige or my status if I take a stand on this issue? If I take a stand for justice and truth, will my home be bombed, will my life be threatened or will I be jailed? What will happen to me?””

This morning, i am thinking of Fabiola Molero, the good Samaritan and the fact that each of us must act in (seemingly) small ways -- Anailin and others like her who we encounter every day must become healthy, smile, and bloom.