Monday, January 30, 2012

Luke 10:29-37 - The Good Samaritan

Scripture Luke 10:29-37

But he (a lawyer), desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."

Reflection on the Gospel of the Good Samaritan

The Parable of the Good Samaritan must be one of the most reflected upon and written about Gospel passages. Yet in our church’s liturgical cycle, we hear it just once in every three years at Sunday Eucharist.

This story of Jesus can be viewed through the lens of an act of kindness, compassion and generosity. Such a response is vital and a constant call on our being. Yet, I believe also that this story calls for a very deep inner conversion of attitude and cultural bias out of which I can define human relationships. We can unwittingly place all sorts of limitations on our relationships.

The Jews and the Samaritans had defined each other on ethic and cultural grounds. They seemed to instinctively know what each other could expect from the other. They had in a real sense ‘boxed’ each other in to a predetermined set of expectations and enmities. In the eyes of a Jew, a Samaritan could not do good.

The parable, as the Word of God is like ‘a two edged sword piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.’(Heb 4:12). It invites me to cut deeply into my own heart and to identify where any prejudice, bias or resistances to love may reside; where I might be unprepared to open up and to be changed by the Word of God.

Perhaps a question for today is

“Who is not my neighbour and why?”

Who are those excluded from my love?

Who are those, whose perceived unacceptable behaviours might irritate me and so I leave them out in the cold? Against whom do I discriminate and why?

The parable in this context also has a societal dimension. At the present time our Australian society is confronted by the continuation of dramatic disadvantage and poverty of our remote indigenous communities. No doubt other countries have their experiences of exclusion and disadvantage. I concur with the recent statement from the Australian Bishops of 7th July 2007, that we need to demand that any community or government response is always “respectful of Indigenous culture and identity.” Institutional racism cannot be acceptable. We as a nation cannot continue to allow a “rejection of difference (that) can lead to that form of cultural annihilation which sociologists have called ‘ethnocide’ and does not tolerate the presence of others except to the extent that they allow themselves to be assimilated into the dominant culture.”

This parable is part of the prophetic tradition of the scriptures, which calls each and every one of us to allow God as the Kind Samaritan to heal our hearts and our minds from all discrimination, prejudice and cultural bias, so that we can receive our neighbours in just relationships and with integrity of heart.

Sr Clare Condon SGS

Source: Good Samaritan Sisters,

1 comment:

  1. Does this mean that you can be saved by doing good deeds without faith in Christ?