Today's gospel about the Good Samaritan is probably one of the most famous stories Jesus ever told. Heck, even the term "Good Samaritan" is still used in our vernacular today.
I remember hearing the story as a child, and thinking the lesson was so simple. "The third guy is good, because he assisted someone who needed help," I would tell my Catechism teacher.
It was quite simple, and there were no other lessons. It didn't matter if the people in the story were black, white, named Raman or Sue. A person was in need, and a good person helped him. Just the way Jesus would want us to live.
As I got older, I remember how smart I felt when I learned all the nuances in the story. That the road to Jericho was dangerous and filled with bandits. That the priest and Levite probably didn't help the Samaritan because they were worried about their own safety or purity. That Samaritans and Jews despised each other.
Now when I explain this story to someone, I go on and on about these intricate details. And I use modern day examples like Sunnis and Shiites (or some cultures and Americans) to explain the shock value Jesus used.
Hearing the story today, though, made me wonder if I over complicate things as I get "smarter". I thought about 6 year-old me, and that maybe it is best to strip away all the noise and focus on the most important point (one we still struggle with today):
If someone is in need, we, as Christians, are to help them. Not to think about whether they really need help, or how it might affect us, or what race they are.
Lord knows there are enough people out there that need it.
God Bless you.