The Gospel on the 15th Sunday In Ordinary Time tells of the encounter with the antagonistic lawyer, which leads to Jesus telling the parable of the Good Samaritan.
There was a lawyer who, to disconcert Jesus, stood up and said to him, ‘Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? What do you read there?’ He replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.’ ‘You have answered right,’ said Jesus ‘do this and life is yours.’
But the man was anxious to justify himself and said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of brigands; they took all he had, beat him and then made off, leaving him half dead. Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite who came to the place saw him, and passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan traveller who came upon him was moved with compassion when he saw him. He went up and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. He then lifted him on to his own mount, carried him to the inn and looked after him. Next day, he took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said “and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have.” Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the brigands‘ hands?’ ‘The one who took pity on him’ he replied. Jesus said to him, ‘Go, and do the same yourself.’
The Samaritan recognised that beside the road was ‘a man’. The Levite and the priest recongnised nobidy, a nothing.
The Samaritan cherished and cared for the man as a son, a child, of God. For the priest and levite he was a nobody, a nothing.
The Samaritan fulfilled the law – the law of Moses, and the law of love. The priest and the levite travelled on, little aware that they had broken the law, self-satisfied, and self-righteous.
- Who do you blank out? And why?
- Who blanks out you? How does it feel, and what might you learn from that?
Good Samaritan. Lichfield Cathedral. (c) 2016, Allen Morris