Gospel LK 10:25-37
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."
+Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, Come by the means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Thy well beloved Spouse.
In this passage, we are drawn into a place of nearness to Mercy. We listen to the Scholar’s question, and we watch the manner of the priest and Levite. What can we learn? I think initially the movements inside the hearts of each one are very interesting. In the scholar, one senses the pride, in the priest and Levite, perhaps the love of ease and complacency (not wanting to be moved) and maybe even some fear or selfishness/self preservation. The Samaritan? Ahh—he is wonderful! Let us ponder this heart, because Jesus is lifting him up as an example to ponder of mercy towards one’s neighbor.
I think what I find so striking is his courage in loving. Loving another is not an efficient thing. It slows us down, it changes our plans, it calls out of us, a ‘leaving of self and going out to the other.’ The Samaritan ‘was moved with compassion,’ the passage reads. He is the only one who allows his heart to be ‘moved’ —his heart could be budged from where he was, to where he was being drawn to be, which was, approaching the other. Here is this man, coming towards the man lying half dead on the road. Perhaps he didn’t know if that man was truly injured until he got close to him and then…there is always the risk, that the person could have just turned on him, or pushed him away, but the Samaritan trusted. He made himself vulnerable, he moved closer, approached the man and tenderly cared for him. Picture this: he bandaged his wounds. Look at how close the Samaritan is to the man who is wounded, to the man who most likely would never have treated him that way, which such kindness and mercy and love. The Samaritan allows his heart to be drawn close to the rawness of the moment. I love how present he is, not looking for anything for himself. He opens his heart to the injured man even further, by lifting him, hoisting him up on his animal, taking him into town, digging into his pocket and putting his own money down for the other.
The man who was beaten could have left without any thank you, he could have even been ungrateful, but the Samaritan didn’t care about what could happen, he just did the good. He wasn’t in it for himself. He was just simply doing the loving act, because it was the loving act. He was loving without expectation, without seeking something back from the man. There was no self involved. The man could treat him crudely and rudely in the reverse role in the future, but he doesn’t seem to calculate any of that probability, he just loves. What can we learn from this?
Question: What do I allow to move me? pride (justifying myself), fear (moving away from what challenges me) or Love (moving towards another in utter openness and love)?
Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, I love you. Live in me and act in me and love through me. Amen