There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law?
How do you read it?”
He said in reply,
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.”
He replied to him, “You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live.”
But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?”
“A man fell victim to robbers
as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road,
but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place,
and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him
was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim,
poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.
Then he lifted him up on his own animal,
took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins
and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,
‘Take care of him.
If you spend more than what I have given you,
I shall repay you on my way back.’
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.”
10:25 a scholar of the law: An expert interpreter of the Mosaic Law.
10:27 the Lord … your neighbor: A reference to Deut 6:5 and Lev 19:18, which Jesus calls the two greatest commandments of the OT (Mt 22:37–40; Mk 12:28–34).
10:30–37 The parable of the Good Samaritan presents both a moral and a theological lesson. Morally, Jesus teaches that love for our neighbor must accompany our love for God. These together, and not one without the other, are indispensable for living in God’s friendship. Theologically, Jesus illustrates that holiness, as defined by the Old Covenant, is now surpassed by the holiness of the New. The priest and the Levite adhere to Israel’s purity laws, which forbade them from touching the corpses of anyone other than family members (Lev 21:1–3). They therefore chose to preserve their legal purity and so passed by the half dead victim. The Samaritan exemplifies this new standard of holiness, where God no longer requires his people to separate from others, but calls them to extend mercy to everyone in need and exclude no one on the grounds of prejudice, dislike, or even legal uncleanness as defined by the Torah (CCC 1825, 2447). ● The parable recalls a similar story in 2 Chron 28:8–15, where the people of Judah were ravaged and captured by a northern Israelite army. Instead of taking them as prisoners, four men of Samaria had compassion on the Jews. Among their works of mercy, they “anointed” them, put them upon their “donkeys”, and took them peacefully to “Jericho”. ● Allegorically (St. Augustine, De Quaest. Evang. 2, 19): the parable signifies Christ’s restoration of mankind. Adam is the man attacked by Satan and his legions; he is stripped of his immortality and left dead in sin. The priest and the Levite represent the Old Covenant and its inability to restore man to new life. Jesus Christ comes as the Good Samaritan to rescue man from death and brings him to the inn of the Church for refreshment and healing through the sacraments.
10:30 from Jerusalem to Jericho: A 17-mile journey eastward that descends nearly 3,200 feet. Its rough terrain made the roadway a target area for bandits and thieves.
10:35 two silver coins [denarii]: About two days’ wages. It would have paid for several days of lodging.
Friends, our Gospel today is one of the best-known of Jesus’ parables, the story of the Good Samaritan. Every story, parable, illustration, exhortation is, at the end of the day, a picture of the Lord.
In one of the great windows of Chartres Cathedral, there is an intertwining of two stories, the account of the Fall of Mankind and the parable of the Good Samaritan. This reflects a connection that was made by the church fathers. The Good Samaritan is a symbol of Jesus, himself, in his role as savior of the world.
Now our task is to be other Christs. “Which of these three was a neighbor to the man who fell in with the robbers? The one who treated him with compassion”. Jesus says to him, “Go and do the same.”
We spend our lives now looking for those people stranded by the road, victimized by sin. We don’t walk by, indifferent to them, but rather we do what Jesus did. Even those who are our natural enemies, even those who frighten us. And we bring the Church’s power to bear, pouring in the oil and wine of compassion, communicating the power of Christ’s cross.
– Bishop Robert Barron
May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.