The Good Samaritan

Luke 10: 25-37
Gal 1: 6-12/ Ps 111: 1-2, 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.'” Jesus replied, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.” But wanting to justify himself, he asked again: “And who is my neighbor?” And in reply Jesus related to them the parable of the Good Samaritan. Then Jesus threw his question back at the lawyer: “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert 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)

Reflection

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 in 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 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 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 “I just don’t want to get involved” when help is needed, whatever the circumstances. The manager of a department store approached an escaped convict who had taken a customer hostage to escape pursuing policemen. She volunteered to take the hostage’s place, convincing the felon that the latter had a weak heart. When she was asked later why she did it, she said she was only doing her job to protect her customers and staff, and felt she was competent enough to do it. She could not just walk away from a situation where her assistance was needed.

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. Grant that Your compassion may always flow freely from our hearts. Amen.

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