Two thousand years after Jesus told the story, we still know exactly what it means...
Reflections on the readings for the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 14, 2019): DT 30:10-14; PS 69:14,17,30-31,33-34,36,37; COL 1:15-20; LK 10:25-37
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days
Jesus taught the parable of the Good Samaritan in response to a law scholar who was uncomfortable and wanted to justify himself because his first effort to test Christ failed.
So now he asks our Lord just who his neighbor really is. We hear the memorable story of a robbery victim who is beaten and left to die. First, a priest and then a Levite pass by the injured man. Maybe they think he’s already dead and they don’t want to risk becoming ritually unclean if they touch him. Maybe they don’t want to take the time and trouble to help. Maybe they just don’t want to get involved. But the Samaritan, someone looked down on by Jewish people, stops to help. He gives the man “First Aid,” brings him to an inn, and continues to care for him. When the Samaritan has to leave, he pays the innkeeper to tend to the victim – and even promises to repay any additional expenses on his way back. So now Jesus turns to the scholar: “‘Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?’ He answered, ‘The one who treated him with mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:36-37).
Just as we hope that other people will offer us mercy when we are in need, we have to understand that we are expected to extend that kindness and care to others. The Samaritan who was so good, although he is never actually called that, gave from his time, talent and treasure to help someone in trouble. He was not concerned with being reimbursed, or even thanked. He did what he did because it was the right thing. He acted out of love of neighbor – just as we are called to do today.
Suggested missionary action: This week, we can make an effort to recognize someone we may barely notice, actively dislike, or look down on as a real neighbor. Then we need to treat them with the respect and concern that we would show to somebody close to us.