A businesswoman was taking a taxi to work one morning. Her cab driver was driving along when suddenly another car jumped into their lane right in front of them. The cabbie slammed on his brakes, skidding to a stop, missing the other car by just a few inches. The driver of the other car turned his head, yelled a profanity at the cabbie and gave him the finger; but the cabbie just smiled and gave him a friendly wave of the hand.
The woman asked the cabbie, "Why did you smile and wave at him? That driver almost hit your car and sent us both to the hospital!" The cabbie answered, "I call it the 'Law of the Garbage Truck.'" He went on to explain: "Some people are like garbage trucks. They run around filling themselves with the garbage of frustration anger and 'playing the victim.' As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on me. I don't take it personally. I just smile, wave, wish them well and move on. I wont take their garbage home to dump on my family and friends. Life is too short to pile up all that garbage and then dump it on others.
In today's Gospel, Jesus is traveling to Jerusalem. He is taking a shortcut through Samaria, so he sends a few disciples ahead to a nearby Samaritan village to prepare for his group's arrival. Samaritans and Jews didn't get along, and these Samaritans refused to extend any hospitality to Jesus and his band of tired and hungry disciples. James and John, the so-called "Sons of Thunder" got angry and frustrated at their refusal. They wanted to dump their garbage on the Samaritans by "calling down fire from heaven to consume them." Of course Jesus would have none of that. Nor should we, if we are true disciples of Jesus.
It is not our mission as baptized people and disciples of Jesus to collect and dump garbage on others. Quite the contrary! One day, when you've arrived in God's kingdom, someone will come to you and thank you for the way you touched their life with hope and encouragement in difficult times. That person's words will surprise you. Soon another person will do the same, and then another and still another. As you listen to each ones story, you will begin to discover all the ways Abba God used you when you were unaware of it. You will discover all the little graces you shared in your life: a spontaneous word of support, a random act of kindness, a helpful hand, a smile that tells people you understand what they're going through, a simple expression of concern.
To your immense joy, you will discover that in all these ways and more, God is using you to reflect and share love and compassion with many needy hearts. The bottom line is this: In the eyes of our Abba God, love expressions are infinitely more precious than garbage dumps!