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Today’s Reading: Luke 10:21-37
21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and re-vealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 22 All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
23 Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”
25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.”
29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30Jesus 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. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion,
34 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. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii i and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
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.
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.