The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Dt. 30: 10-14
Response: Psalm 69
Second Reading: Col. I: 15-20
Gospel: Luke 10: 25-37
Over the years, the expression “a good Samaritan” has become a popular description of a person who goes out of his or her way to help someone in need. It is indeed an appropriate way of describing a kind person’s response to someone in need. However, it has become so commonplace that it does not fully describe the heroic courage of the person presented by Jesus.
First of all, Samaritans were despised by the Jews because they had intermarried with non-Jews and were worshipping pagan gods. Theirs was a mixed culture including Jewish and Gentile aspects. Because of prejudice, this Samaritan risked not only distain, but possible violence because he chose to help this Jewish man while others passed him by.
Nonetheless, this compassionate man not only bound up the wounds inflicted by the robbers, but he placed him on his own animal. Together they managed to carry wounded man to an inn. After the laborious trip, the Samaritan left the injured man in the care of the innkeeper so that he could receive the shelter, food and care he needed. That was not enough! He planned to check on him on his return from his journey and to pay the innkeeper for any expenses incurred. This Samaritan is motivated by love and compassion, not just for his own people, but for a suffering brother in the family of God.
I recall being reminded in the past that in God’s garden, there are many types of flowers. They have their own colors, shapes, sizes, and fragrances. The variety adds to the beauty of the display. Whether we differ in race, nationality, appearance, faith, ability, talents, personalities, sexual preferences, or political persuasions, we are all children of our Heavenly Father who loves each one of us as we are. This Samaritan saw the injured man as his brother. That is what made all the difference!