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 neighbor?». 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 neighbor 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».
On the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the Lord asks us to be a neighbour to all people, and in return God assures us eternal life. The parable of the Good Samaritan will help us to discover our neighbour, and to become the Good Samaritan wished by the Lord. He knew how to pause, to go towards the other, to look with love and compassion, to accompany him to the inn, with a promise of return and justice. We know this story by heart.
That is why I invite you to discover yet another character in this parable, one who is totally discreet, who neither speaks nor demonstrates any concrete action, the innkeeper. In truth, we are that innkeeper, to whom God has entrusted many men and women who have been wounded and abandoned. Before we go to look for the wounded of the world, the Lord asks us, first of all, to take care of your wife, your husband, your brother and sister whom you already know, and who are in the same home where you live. I personally find myself in this innkeeper, because I see so many people who are in front of my house, like poor Lazarus, who needs me. Francis found the whole of creation in his home and you?
Action of the day: Be open to the impulsion of the Holy Spirit.
«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).