Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban has a scene that works as an excellent analogy for the “Good Samaritan” parable. Instead of waiting for somebody else to help a person in need, God calls us to help them mercifully. Harry repeats the parable’s lesson towards the end of the book/film.
Harry as a Good Samaritan (For Himself and Sirius)
One of the coolest twists in The Prisoner of Azkaban is the ability to turn back time, to have a second chance at setting things right. Harry and Hermione get this chance from Dumbledore so that they can rescue Sirius from a horrible fate.
In the original “pre-rewind” climax moment, Harry seemingly sees his dead father, James, come back to save his son and best friend. At this moment, Harry’s doing his best to ward off a massive swarm of soul-sucking dementors from claiming Sirius’ soul. Imagine his awe and relief at seeing his father come to save them!
When Harry and Hermione rewind time to save himself and Sirius, Harry expectantly waits at the lake’s edge. The two friends anxiously watch the dementors descend on Harry’s past self and Sirius. Despite Hermione rationally warning Harry that James is nowhere in sight, Harry eagerly refutes her.
The moments painfully pass as Harry waits to see if James will show up. He then has a split-second realization, takes out his wand, and performs the miracle he expected somebody else to do.
By refusing to wait for somebody else to step up to the plate, Harry gave an excellent example of the Good Samaritan from Jesus’ parable.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
Jesus’ parable of mercy towards your neighbors comes from Luke 10:25-37. He gives this parable in response to a religious law expert trying to test His knowledge. When this expert asks Jesus who qualifies as his neighbor, Jesus surprises him with a simultaneous story and lesson on mercy.
It probably served as a nasty shock to Jesus’ audience that neither the priest nor Levite stopped to help the wounded man. Those two figures were supposed to be holy but refused to act mercifully towards somebody in need.
Building on the “twist”, nobody would’ve expected Jesus to reveal that a Samaritan man was the one to show mercy towards a Jewish man. At the time, Judea frowned down on Samaritans as “lesser people” because of how their neighbors practiced the faith.
Despite this hatred, the Samaritan man quickly rushed to help his Jewish neighbor. He went above and beyond by healing the man’s wounds and paying for his rest at an inn.
Showing mercy towards others is a reflection of God’s compassion toward us. When we give this level of neighborly mercy to somebody we feel opposed to, it reflects God’s love like the Moon reflecting the Sun’s light.
Following the Good Samaritan’s Lead
Before the climactic fight at the end of The Nun movie, Father Burke reminds the deuteragonist, Frenchie, of this vital truth:
“There’s a time for prayer, and a time for action. Now’s a time for action.”
-Father Burke, The Nun
Father Burke tells Frenchie this when Frenchie speaks about his terror of what awaits them. This quote from Father Burke is a solid call to action for all of us of faith. In this lifetime, we’ll face figurative (and in some cases, literal) demons that require faithful action to be defeated.
America needs faithful action desperately in the wake of the horrific mass shootings committed this past week. We’re all still reeling from the sheer cruelty of the Uvalde, Texas massacre of elementary school kids and teachers.
Those in our country with the power to end this plague should be working to prevent more deaths. While compassionate thoughts and prayers for the victims’ families are always a good thing, refusing to act on that compassion will allow for more tragedy.
Like the Good Samaritan, we’re called to take action and not wait for somebody else to step up. In systematic situations like America’s relentless mass shootings, our leaders are responsible for using their power to end this crisis.
Prayer and action go hand-in-hand, as Fr. Mike Schmitz from Ascension Presents reminds us in this YouTube video:
Featured Image by falco/Pixabay
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