Blessed are the merciful, they shall find mercy.
Matt. 5:7. (James Moffatt Version)
Broken, bruised, and neglected humanity is symbolized in the figure by the roadside. He represents the sick, the hungry and the underprivileged of the earth.
The Good Samaritan, who shows mercy to him, personifies the spirit of love which leads a person to identify with all human beings in need. (Luke 10:29-37)
The painting shows the injured man after his wounds have been treated and bandaged. The Good Samaritan has gone beyond meeting his physical needs and has taken this man into his arms to reassure and comfort him.
Mercy goes beyond the immediate need, beyond what is expected and beyond duty; mercy gives substance and depth to caring for someone.
The face, the hands, and even the posture of the Good Samaritan convey the mood of deep concern. In the same way, the face, the hands, and the posture of the injured man convey the mood of helplessness and dire distress.
"Who is my neighbor, and to whom is mercy to be shown?" was the question asked. Jesus in the story answered, "Any person in need is my neighbor."
The Samaritan was not an acceptable person to the Jew, but he did not let the barrier of prejudice keep him from coming to the aid of this fellow human being in distress. Often an excuse is made for not helping other people. "They do not deserve to be helped." But mercy asks for no qualifications. Mercy draws heavily on forgiveness and love. "Mercy begets mercy" is the promise in this Beatitude. "The merciful shall find mercy." Certainly the opposite is true, cruelty begets cruelty, terrorism begets terrorism, and war begets war.