The Parable of the Good Samaritan

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila - The Freeman

Today is the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time and today’s gospel reading is probably the most known amongst the many parables that our Lord Jesus Christ has taught his disciples, which only comes from the gospel of St. Luke, the Parable of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:25-37.

“25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

“28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus, replied. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.33

“But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

* * *

When we start writing about a parable that nearly everyone in the Catholic Church already knows by heart, it makes writing it difficult because you end up repeating something that you must have written many times before. So for this exercise I then asked my partner in our TV show every Sunday entitled “My Catechism” Fr. Lucas Inoc, whatever happened to the huge rivalry between the Samaritan Jews and the Orthodox Jews? Fr. Lucas told me that somehow that issue disappeared, more so that the Jews were driven from their homeland and had to resettle in new lands where, more often than not, they were forced to intermarry with the people living there.

Indeed, in Russia, even the Romanov rulers at that time, felt bad that the Jews living there disturbed Russia, and anti-Semitism was worse in Germany where the Nazis who called them “Juden” forced them to wear a Star of David on their clothes to identify their Jewish ancestry and eventually, six million Jews were sent to various concentration camps to be slaughtered just for being Jews. So today, there is no animosity between the Samaritans and the Jews.

But this story that our Lord Jesus taught us remind us even 2,000 years later about the question “Who is my neighbor?” Perhaps the bigger question is “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” In all the centuries since the birth of Christ, this must have been a question asked by millions of people in their lifetime, which is probably the reason why every now and then, the Catholic Church tells us of the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

But we all know the answer to the questions that people have asked and is also being asked in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. This is answered no less than by our Lord Jesus Christ who said in the last paragraph of this gospel narrative: “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” So do you need to ask any more questions about your ticket to eternal life? I guess not!

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