A teacher of the Law came and began putting Jesus to the test. And he said, «Master, what shall I do to receive eternal life?». Jesus replied, «What is written in the Scripture? How do you understand it?». The man answered, «It is written: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself». Jesus replied, «What a good answer! Do this and you shall live».
The man wanted to keep up appearances, so he replied, «Who is my neighbour?». Jesus then said, «There was a man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him, beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. It happened that a priest was going along that road and saw the man, but passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite saw the man and passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, too, was going that way, and when he came upon the man, he was moved with compassion. He went over to him and treated his wounds with oil and wine and wrapped them with bandages. Then he put him on his own mount and brought him to an inn where he took care of him. The next day he had to set off, but he gave two silver coins to the innkeeper and told him: ‘Take care of him and whatever you spend on him, I will repay when I come back’». Jesus then asked, «Which of these three, do you think, made himself neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?». The teacher of the Law answered, «The one who had mercy on him». And Jesus said, «Go then and do the same».
Many of us do feel like this poor wounded man (or rather would like to be), looking for someone to come and save us, without realising that we are called to be a Good Samaritan for others. Since my preoccupation is not to explain the gospel or teach you to understand this, than helping you all to apply the message in the daily life. This daily application will in turn will make our life more missionary and evangelic.
Thus I will invite you all to look at the life of Jonas in the first reading and identify our own preoccupations and fears, which make us to act like the teacher of the law, priest or the Levite to ignore the person. It is important to ask ourselves, why are we not able to identify those neighbours who are hurt in life and in-need of us.
Just like the teacher of the law, and the young rich man who were searching for the eternal life, do I have the same thirst and what do I understand by ‘eternal life’?
It may be helpful to play the role of the persons in this gospel. Am I like this good Samaritan or like the priest? A true re-reading of our personal life may help us to identify the role that we are actually playing in our daily life. I am waiting for others to serve me or ready to serve others.
It is equally true in this story that the Samaritan too didn’t have sufficient means to fully respond to the need of this wounded person. Neither money in abundance nor the time. However, he could do with the available means, all that he could do. Am I aware of the means available for me, like the talents and gifts that God has already entrusted in me? Without identifying these means, how can I help? This Samaritan did approach other for help. Do I invite others to work with me and delegate my responsibility with others who are more qualified and able? Have a wonderful day and be a good neighbour, at least to the dear and near ones.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers:
God desires to be our neighbor, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"God our Lord wished to be called our neighbor. The Lord Jesus Christ meant that he was the one who gave help to the man lying half-dead on the road, beaten and left by the robbers. The prophet said in prayer, 'As a neighbor and as one's own brother, so did I please' (Psalm 34:14 ). Since the divine nature is far superior and above our human nature, the command by which we are to love God is distinct from our love of our neighbor. He shows mercy to us because of his own goodness, while we show mercy to one another because of God's goodness. He has compassion on us so that we may enjoy him completely, while we have compassion on another that we may completely enjoy him. (excerpt from CHRISTIAN INSTRUCTION 33)
«What must I do to inherit eternal life?»
Fr. Ivan LEVYTSKYY CSsR
Today, the gospel’s message indicates the path to life: «You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, (..) and your neighbor as yourself» (Lk 10:27). And since God has loved us in the first place He leads us to the union with Him. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta said: «We need this intimate union with God in our daily life. And how can we achieve it? Through prayer». Being in oneness with Him we begin to experience that with Him everything is possible, even to love our neighbor.
Someone said that Christians enter the church to love God and come out to love their neighbors. Pope Benedict accentuates that the Christian’s program – the program of the Good Samaritan, Jesus program – is «a heart which can see». See and stop! In this parable there are two people who see the needy, but they don´t stop. This is why Christ has reproached the Pharisees saying: «Do you have eyes and not see?» (Mk 8:18). On the contrary, the Samaritan sees and stops, he has mercy and thus saves the life of the needy and his own.
When the famous Catalan architect Antonio Gaudí was run over by a tramway some bystanders didn’t stop to help that injured old man. He carried no documents and looked like a beggar. Had they realized who that neighbor was and surely they would have stayed in line to help him.
When we practice the good, we think we do it for our neighbor, but we really do it also for Christ: «I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me» (Mt 25:40). And Benedict XVI says my neighbor is anyone who needs me and I can help. If everyone seeing his neighbors in need would stop and have mercy on them once a day or once a week the crisis would decrease and the world would become better. «Nothing resembles us so much to God as the good deeds» (St. Gregory of Nyssa).