“…And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’…” (Luke 10:35)
My high school basketball coach used to tell us that what separates the great players from the good ones is the “extra mile”.
And I guess he is right. If you read the biographies of the great basketball players in the history of the game, the Birds, Jordans and Johnsons had one thing in common: they all went the extra mile.
When the team required them to practice for only eight hours, they stayed around in the gym for an hour more. An extra round in the oval. An extra set of free throws. An extra trip on the treadmill.
They gave a bit more than what was required. More than what was expected. More than what should have been enough. Yes, the extra mile made all the difference.
I guess what is true in basketball can also be true in the Christian life.
Take for instance, the Good Samaritan in today’s gospel.
He helped the wounded man. Nursed his wounds. Bandaged him. Comforted him. But he did more. More than what was expected. More than what was required. He took him on his shoulders, carried him to an inn and paid for his care. Not only that. I am almost sure some appointment was missed that day or a task undone because the Samaritan chose to go out of his way to help.
How many of us would do the same? Perhaps very few.
Many of us, including myself, are average Christians. Good people. No big sins. We pray. We try to be fair to all. We try to love as best as we could. But many of us stop there. We give within limits. We stay within parameters. We hold back. We stay comfortable.
Today, allow me to challenge you a bit. Go beyond average. Go beyond normal. Go beyond enough. Go the extra mile.
Saints are made of such stuff. They pray extra more. They sacrifice extra more. They give extra more. What is enough is not enough for them.
God is the greatest example of the “extra mile” love.
He wasn’t contented with sending prophets.He became man in the form of His Son.
He wasn’t contented with becoming man. He removed His King’s robe and exchanged it for carpenter’s clothes.
He wasn’t contented with being poor. He even chose to die for us who are poor in Spirit.
He wasn’t contented with dying. He chose to die the most humiliating form of death during His time — death on a cross.
He is Jesus. Our God. Our Savior. Our King. He went the extra mile for you and me.
Shouldn’t we do the same for Him?
I remain, humbled by His love,
P.S. Speaking of “extra miles”, I would like to thank my brothers and sisters in Oman for going the extra mile for me while I gave a week-long retreat for them two weeks ago in Ghala Parish, Muscat. Special thanks to Fr. Albert D’ Silva, the English Prayer Group, Families in Jesus, Couples for Christ and El Shaddai. It was a joy serving all of you!