Friday, July 8, 2016

July 10, 2016 - The Good Samaritan

The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 
Year C

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!


  1. Dear Sr. Annette,
    I am very moved by your comment regarding the beauty of the variety of mankind. As I write this post our nation is grieving over the loss of precious lives –those of black men killed by police officers and of police officers shot to death by a sniper seeking justice. In today’s gospel, Jesus gives us instruction on inheriting eternal life: “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.” The scholar’s question, “who is my neighbor?” is definitely timely for every one of us to ponder as we struggle with feelings of fear, anger and sadness over ever increasing violence in neighborhoods throughout our country.
    Mike Newall, a writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, writes that such behavior has “led us to a culture of retaliation, when we need one of reconciliation.” In his article, Newall quotes Rev. Mark Tyler: “It feels like a moment of darkness when there is no hope.” Newall ends his commentary noting that the violence and hatred which brought us to this terrible event cannot deliver us. Only through genuine dialogue will hope come from this darkness.
    As you noted, each one of us is a unique expression of the Creator’s love. Like the Samaritan we need to see one another as our brother. “Do this and you will live,” was the instruction of Jesus. We need to uphold the value of life and to respect ourselves and others.
    Today I had the privilege of attending the Mass of celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. In his homily, Most Rev. Guillory, S.V.D., mentioned several times that Saint Katharine Drexel’s focus was on the unity of the human race – our common humanity. This message has great significance today as it did during St. Katharine’s years of ministry.
    Let us pray for healing.

    1. Dear Pat,
      Thank you for the reference to Mike Newall's comments in the Philadelphia Inquirer. It is only through dialogue and engagement with one another that understanding and love can
      replace the fear and misjudgment that leads to violence.