The Good Samaritan

Luke 10: 25-37
Gal 1: 6-12 / Ps 111: 1b-2, 7-10

And who is my neighbor?
(Luke 10:29)

Jesus is the Good Samaritan
Who came to save mankind from sin;
May we also lend a helping hand
To one in need, stranger or kin.

A scholar of the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responded with a question: “What is written in the Law?” He answered: ” ‘Love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But wanting to justify himself, he asked again: “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins 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.’” Then Jesus asked the lawyer: “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The scholar of the law could not even mention the word ‘Samaritan’, but replied, “The one who had shown mercy on him.” Then Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10: 25-37)


It is significant to note that this Gospel passage happens right after Jesus praised God “for hiding these things from the wise and the learned, and revealing them to the childlike” (Lk.10:21). The “childlike” are Jesus’ followers, whose faith in their Master puts them above the “wise and the learned,” who are represented by this expert of the law. Sophisticated, scholarly, and arrogant, he presumed that he could test Jesus to see if this son of a carpenter from the village of Nazareth knew much about the law. But the repartee that followed left no doubt who was the Master and who the novice. The lawyer who had sought to test Jesus was now the one being tested.

Let us reflect on the lessons that we can mine from this Gospel passage. First, it is not in the knowledge of the law that God grants us wisdom and discernment, but in our humble submission to the teachings of God’s Word. (“It will not be you who speak, but the Holy Spirit speaking through you” – Mt. 10:20). The second lesson is about the sin of prejudice. The Jews believed that they were the “Chosen people”. All the other tribes, especially the hated Samaritans, outside Judaic law could not be their neighbors. Jesus showed them their error. All people who follow the will of God are God’s children. No special people have an exclusive franchise on the kingdom of God. The third lesson is about taking responsibility (being a hero) in the name of love. As Christians, we cannot say we don’t want to get involved when help is needed, whatever the circumstances. When my elder brother saw a deranged female patient who escaped from the mental hospital walking stark naked on the street, he rushed home and got his wife’s old dress and went back to clothe the patient. Then he took her back to the mental hospital. He could not just walk away from a situation where his assistance was needed, because he is truly a servant of God’s Word.

Father God, Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan convicts our selfishness, our pride, and prejudice. May we “Go and do likewise,” whenever a situation requires acts of mercy. May Your compassion flow freely out of our hearts. Amen.

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