Do to others as you would have them do to you. Love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Luke 6:31, 35
you have taught us through Christ
that love is the fulfilment of the law:
help us to love you with all our heart, with all our
soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength,
and our neighbour as ourself;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
- Amos 7:7-17
- Psalm 82
- Colossians 1:1-14
- Luke 10:25-37
- Amos 8:1-12
- Psalm 52
- Colossians 1:15-29
- Luke 10:38-42
A Thought to Ponder
Pentecost 5 – Luke10:25-37
The parable of the Good Samaritan: “ … a Samaritan traveller who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight.”
A lawyer’s question about who is – and, by implication, who is not– one’s neighbour sets the stage for one of Jesus’ most beloved parables, the story of the Good Samaritan (found only in Luke’s Gospel). Jesus stuns his hearers by making a Samaritan the hero of the story – especially in light of the inhospitality of the Samaritans to Jesus and his companions on their journey to Jerusalem (the Gospel for the 13th Sunday of Year). Jesus’ hearers would expect a Samaritan to be the villain of the story, not the hero. While the two clerics do not help the man for fear of violating the Torah by being defiled by the dead, the compassionate Samaritan – a man presumably with little concern for Jewish belief or morality – is so moved by the plight of the poor man that he thinks nothing of stopping to help regardless of the cost of time or money.
The Jews of Jesus’ time defined “neighbour” exclusively as another Jew, but Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan expands such a limited concept. One of the key principles of Christianity is the concept that all men and women are “neighbours”: children of the same heavenly Father, brothers and sisters in Christ. The Samaritan and the traveller illustrate Jesus’ concept of “neighbour” is not limited to one’s own clan or community. Christ-like compassion must be manifested in deeds of kindness; morality, in the light of the Gospel, cannot be guided by laws inscribed in stone but ultimately by the spirit of the heart.
The Good Samaritan is the Gospel prototype of Gospel charity, of service to our “neighbour.” “Good Samaritans” are, quite simply, people who recognise every human being as their neighbour and then permit nothing – not prejudices, stereotypes, complications or costs – prevent them from hearing their cry for help and responding to their plight.
The parable of the Good Samaritan calls us to embrace a vision of faith that sees every man, woman, and child – regardless of whatever labels society has assigned to them – as our “neighbours.” Christ teaches us, his disciples, to look beyond what divides us from one another and focus on what unites us; to put aside our own needs and wants to embrace the needs and wants of others; to see our own wealth as a means to bring healing and hope into the lives who have little.
Every day, we encounter people who are in a ditch of discouragement, who have been beaten and bruised by the abuse and anger of others, who have been left near dead in frustrating hopelessness. We don’t have to look very far to find such “victims” — and we can become Good Samaritans by extending to them compassion, understanding and a support.
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