I would like to conclude this meditation with a little anecdote. A rabbi was once instructing his disciples. In the course of his teaching he asked them: "When does the day begin?" One answered: "When the sun rises and its soft rays kiss the earth, gilding it with gold, the day has begun." But this response did not satisfy the rabbi. Yet another disciple ventured: "When the birds begin to chorus their lauds and nature herself bounces back to life after the night's slumber, the day has begun." This reply, too, did not please the rabbi. One after the other, all the disciples made bold their answers. But with none of them was the rabbi pleased. Finally, they gave up and all, agitated, asked: "Now, you tell us the right answer! When does the day begin?" And the rabbi answered calmly: "When you see a stranger in the dark and recognize in him your brother, the day has dawned! If you do not recognize in the stranger your brother or sister, the sun may have risen, the birds may sing, nature herself may bounce back to life. But it is still night and there is darkness in your heart!" It is love that gives us eyes to see, a heart to feel, and hands to help. "The call of the Christian is to share this (love) generously on the different roads travelled by humanity today, roads that are new and sometimes dangerous, but always open to people on the move...."  My earnest prayer this morning, is that each of us may be filled with that light of love, that will urge us to move out of ourselves and reach out to others in need, just as the Good Samaritan did to the man who was on his way from Jerusalem to Jericho, to this body of humanity that, on its earthly pilgrimage, lies wounded and waylaid, stripped of what is deepest in its culture, and infuse into it anew a sense of hope, health, and happiness impregnating it with the divine and the sacred and thus restoring it to its pristine glory. In those telling words of St. Irenaeus: "The glory of God is humanity fully alive and the life of humanity is the vision of God."  Then will this parable of the Good Samaritan come alive and speak to our hearts today, for then we shall know who is our neighbor and fulfill the command of Jesus, "Go, and do the same yourself." We are challenged into the commitment and communion of the new commandment of Christ.
CARDINAL Paul Poupard President, Pontifical Council for Culture