Monday, July 8, 2019

7-14-19 The Good Samaritan

July 14, 2019  -  The Good Samaritan
Image © LUMO Project
Reading I:

Psalm:  69

Reading II:
Colossians 1:15-20

Luke 10: 25-37

“Good Samaritan” has become a common expression to refer to a person who goes out of his or her way to help a stranger in need. Many are not aware of the fact that the expression comes from the “Parable of the Good Samaritan” preached by Jesus Himself.

When a lawyer asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus reminds him of the law and asks him how he reads it. The lawyer responds that he must Love God and one’s neighbor as himself.  Jesus tells him he is correct. However, the lawyer challenges Jesus: “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus knows that the prevailing belief is that only Jews are neighbors. He wants to expand their understanding, so He tells the “Parable of the Good Samaritan.”

Jesus describes a situation in which a man is attacked by robbers, stripped and beaten half to death.  Both a priest and a lawyer saw him, but walked on, offering no help. However, a Samaritan has compassion, stops, cares for his wounds, takes him to an inn, continues to care for him, even pays the innkeeper to care for him. Then, he offers to repay the innkeeper if he spends more than he was given.

Jesus had two strong messages which He gives to his listeners. First, what He expects of His disciples is inclusiveness in their bringing the good news to others. The Samaritans were not respected by the Jews not just because they were from a different province, but because they were of mixed blood. They practiced a different religion, accepting only the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. On the other hand, the Jews also accepted other books of the Bible. The Samaritans had their temple in on Mount Gerizim, while the Jews had their temple in Jerusalem. The Samaritans were considered to be a low breed. You can imagine how they felt when Jesus presents to them a Samaritan as a model of brotherly love!

The second message Jesus gave was to call for generosity among his followers. He expects them to sacrifice their own comfort and goods to bring love and care to others. He asks them and us to reach out to those suffering from loneliness, prejudice, injustice, poverty, illness, etc. The Samaritan was traveling somewhere when he stopped to help, put himself out, interrupted his trip, paid for the care of the injured man and showed the type of kindness that Jesus wants of His followers. That is the same challenge Jesus gives to us.

 Reflection Question:  Can you give an example of  someone you know or heard about who acted as a Good Samaritan?”

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...
El Buen Samaritano

Buen Samaritano se ha convertido en una expresión común para referirse a una persona que hace todo lo posible por ayudar a un extraño necesitado. Muchos no son conscientes del hecho de que la expresión proviene de la Parábola del Buen Samaritano predicada por el mismo Jesús.

Cuando un abogado le pregunta a Jesús qué debe hacer para heredar la vida eterna, Jesús le recuerda la ley y le pregunta cómo la lee. El abogado responde que debe amar a Dios y al prójimo como a sí mismo. Jesús le dice que tiene razón. Sin embargo, el abogado desafía a Jesús: ¿Quién es mi prójimo?” Jesús sabe que la creencia predominante es que solo los judíos son vecinos. Él quiere expandir su comprensión, por lo que dice la  Parábola del Buen Samaritano”.

Jesús describe una situación en la que un hombre es atacado por ladrones, desnudado y golpeado hasta la mitad. Tanto un sacerdote como un abogado lo vieron, pero siguieron caminando, sin ofrecer ayuda. Sin embargo, un samaritano tiene compasión, se detiene, cuida sus heridas, lo lleva a una posada, lo sigue cuidando, incluso le paga al posadero para que lo cuide. Luego, se ofrece a pagarle al posadero si gasta más de lo que le dieron.

Jesús tenía dos mensajes fuertes que él da a sus oyentes. Primero, lo que Él espera de sus discípulos es la inclusión en el hecho de llevar las buenas nuevas a los demás. Los samaritanos no eran respetados por los judíos no solo porque eran de una provincia diferente, sino porque eran de sangre mixta. Practicaban una religión diferente, aceptando solo la Torá, los primeros cinco libros de la Biblia. Por otro lado, los judíos también aceptaron otros libros de la Biblia. Los samaritanos tenían su templo en el Monte Gerizim, mientras que los judíos tenían su templo en Jerusalén. Los samaritanos eran considerados de una raza baja. ¡Puedes imaginarte cómo se sintieron cuando Jesús les presenta a un samaritano como modelo de amor fraternal!

El segundo mensaje que dio Jesús fue para pedir generosidad entre sus seguidores. Él espera que sacrifiquen su propia comodidad y bienes para traer amor y cuidado a los demás. Él nos pide que nos pongamos en contacto con aquellos que sufren de soledad, prejuicio, injusticia, pobreza, enfermedad, etc. Hombre y mostró el tipo de bondad que Jesús quiere de sus seguidores. Ese es el mismo desafío que Jesús nos da.

 Pregunta de Reflexión:  ¿Puede dar un ejemplo de alguien que conoce o escuchó acerca de quién actuó como un “buen samaritano”?

Stephanie Morris, Ph. D, Historian, Certified Archivist, emerita
Moses told the people that they should “heed the voice of the Lord, your God, and keep his commandments. The scholar told Jesus that the law was to “love the Lord, your God with all your heart …and your neighbor as yourself.” Actions speak louder than words. By living the love of God we can draw more people to experience God’s love than by just talking about it.

Pat Chiaffa, ASBS

Jesus commands, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  We ask, “Who is my neighbor?” hoping for an affable response.
The door to her home, and her heart, was always open. As a child, I spent weekends at her house. My cousins, their friends, and usually an unrelated adult or two, hung out there as well. The environment was lively, as well as colorful.  Guests and visitors were of varied ages, races, beliefs, and interests. My memory is of a big old house with a huge “parlor” which, at Christmas time, held the biggest tree imaginable. The magical thing was that Santa always left a gift for whoever happened to be there during that season. I recall times when entire families “visited,” and stayed indefinitely. It wasn’t until I was much older that I learned they had no other place to live. Then there was Charlie. Charlie was a middle-aged single man without any family. He was a truck driver, on the road a lot, but in between road trips, he needed a place to stay. He became a boarder at the house and found a family that welcomed him as a member. He lived there for a very long season of life until his health deteriorated to the point he needed skilled care and transitioned to a facility.  Aunt Doris was a professional singer and the band practiced in the parlor; music, singing and laughter filled the room. As we grew up, married, and had our own children, we just kept coming back. Whenever any of our kids, or extended family members got sick, Aunt Doris was the one we reached out to for prayer. To this day, I believe she had a direct line to Jesus. She consoled individuals through divorces and she continued to welcome the ex-spouses who returned to her “sanctuary” for her wise counsel and unconditional love. 
 My aunt had very little money but we never realized she was poor because she created an atmosphere of abundance. Spaghetti dinners seemed like a feast in Italy as she created an ambiance to resemble fine dining. Hot dogs were the centerpiece of a fun-filled indoor picnic. She nourished many hungry stomachs, broken hearts and wounded souls from the hearth of her loving heart and the depths of her love of God and His hurting children. Aunt Doris cared; she was present to those in need. She was willing to enter into the lives of others, to listen attentively, and to share their pain. When she learned that the father of a family down the street lost his job right after Thanksgiving, she got to work making “shoe boxes” filled with age-appropriate goodies for each of the eight children so they would have something to open on Christmas morning.
The church was full on the day of her funeral Mass, a testimony to her total gift of self. A community of unrelated people, united, as we exchanged stories of how Doris C. contributed to healing our common brokenness. As the priest who celebrated Mass commented, she truly understood the connection between loving God and serving neighbor. 
She lived a good Samaritan life demonstrating that compassion has no boundaries. She was the good neighbor who crossed the road to minister to the hurting, disenfranchised, and less fortunate. To Aunt Doris, the person who ends up dying in the ditch is the one who distances himself/ herself from others by judging them as being less than worthy of his/her time and attention. 
Being a good neighbor begets good neighbors. Jesus’ wisdom holds the vision of the peaceful kingdom right in our own backyard! Let us pray for an attitude of abundance so that we are able to share of ourselves with others with ease and grace.

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