Gospel Reflection for the 15th Sunday Ordinary Time Year C – July 14th 2013
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on our parish website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
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’.
Luke 10: 25-37
A good story always has a punch line and a comment. This is a great story of Jesus. The punchline – go and do….there is nothing about the law, theology or the academic. Jesus didn’t say what a neighbour is, or who the neighbour is. He was a really good person – what we’d say at the end of the story of the good Samaritan.
He was a man who had compassion – the pains and loss, bereavement, illness of another mattered to him and affected him. What might have got to you last week – maybe the situation of our asylum seekers? Or cutbacks for the disabled?
He did something…compassion wasn’t just a feeling and a song. He got the man out of the ditch. Christian compassion is an active compassion: the nurse, the doctor, the priest, the politician, the parent, the sibling. If you are a Christian you are active with compassion.
His care was long-term. Maybe the innkeeper didn’t want the man. But the helper came back. Like people in the Vincent de Paul for forty or fifty years. People who look in on an elderly neighbour after she comes back from hospital. The phone call a week after bereavement. We can give many examples.
The big example is the life of Jesus. He was the good Samaritan always. Love unto death, and now as well as then. Risen from the dead, doing good for us, through us.
More than that though – he is also the man in the ditch. What you do for others, you do for me. Not enough to admire Jesus, but we see him as the one suffering today; when people suffer Jesus suffers.
Watch him – the one in the ditch needing help, and the one who carries the needy like he carried the cross.
Lord, may I be a helper after your own heart.
Donal Neary SJ