When I served as a lay missionary in Baguio City, Philippines with Sister Terezinha, MSC, she would always remind me, “Catalan, go where the people are!” When I told her I possibly wanted to put together a fundraiser for school supplies or potentially start catechism classes in a new community, she would simply say, “Go!” To this day, that phrase: “Go where the people are” reminds me of my call to peace, service, and justice. And, it reminds me to go—to not wait for others to come to me, but for me to be active, to take initiative, and to move.
One of the phrases that poignantly sticks out to me in the Parable of the Good Samaritan takes place when the Good Samaritan is “moved with compassion at the sight.” Not only did the Good Samaritan see the man who fell victim, rather, he felt something and was moved. But he didn’t stop there. He took action, approached the man in need, and came to his aid.
Sometimes when we work towards eradicating different issues of injustice, it may feel overwhelming, and often times we may not know where to start. We may overcomplicate things, or spend so much time thinking about what to do, and struggle in determining the first step, that we fail to even begin! But I am reminded of Sr. Terezinha who would tell me to just GO. In other words, to begin, move, get out there. Be with the people.
Likewise, I reflect on the character of the Good Samaritan, who saw a need, allowed himself to feel compassion for what he witnessed, discerned his actions, and continued onward with coming to help the man in need. Perhaps there was hesitation, fear, or a mix of other feelings, but ultimately, he treated the man with mercy, served him as a neighbor—and now in our own realities, Jesus calls us to go and do likewise.
Crystal Catalan serves as the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Presentation High School in San Jose, CA. She holds degrees from the University of San Diego and Eastern University, and previously served as a missioner with Cabrini Mission Corps in New York, the Philippines, Swaziland, and Radnor, PA at Cabrini University. She recently graduated with a masters in pastoral ministries with an emphasis in restorative justice and chaplaincy at Santa Clara University.