Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

The Parable of the Good Samaritan is a parable of living the Law of the Lord. That is how the parable begins. That is what the scholar of the Law asked Jesus to comment on. First he asked him what he had to do to inherit eternal life. Great idea, but when our Lord asked him what the Law said, the scholar quoted Deuteronomy and Leviticus, Love the Lord with your whole heart, and being, and strength and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself… Well, the parable comes after the scholar asked who was a neighbor[1].

We all know the parable very well, perhaps too well. We all know it so well that we forget that it is pointed towards us. The parable is about living the Way of Jesus, the Law of Love. The Samaritan’s were seen by the Jews as outside of the Law. They had intermarried with pagans. Their practice of the Jewish faith was not as pure as the Jews. They didn’t travel to Jerusalem for the festivals, believing that they could worship God in other places. To the Jews, Samaritans were sinners because they were not as fervent in their faith as the Jews were.

The Good Samaritan knew when God called him into action. He knew that he could not be a follower of the Lord and walk by that man who needed his help. Sure the Levite and the Temple priest should have gone into action. Supposedly, they were the strong followers of God. But that wasn’t an argument for the Samaritan to ignore the man on the side of the road. He did what the Law of God demanded that he do.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan is real in our lives. It is present whenever we are confronted with demands on our time and resources to care for someone who needs us. It is particularly present whenever we are tempted to hide behind worship as a justification for refusing to answer the call to charity. “I am really busy at Church,” we say, “God certainly doesn’t expect more of me.”  But He does.

In the book of the prophet Jeremiah we hear the prophesy, my law will be written upon their hearts[2]. We know when we are being called to fulfill the Law of the Lord. We know that Jesus identifies with those who are hurting. There is no excuse, no justification, for our walking by those who need our help, who need His Love.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan is far more than a pleasant biblical story told by Jesus Himself. The parable is an answer to the question: What must I do to inherit eternal life? My brother, my sister, we have only to look into our hearts, we had to pay attention to the voice of our conscience; we know what we must do ■

[1] Sunday 14th July, 2013, 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Readings: Deuteronomy 30:10-14. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live - Ps 68(69):14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36-37. Colossians 1:15-20. Luke 10:25-37 [St Camillus de Lellis].
[2] 31:33. 

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris