Spirit of Christ, show me the true nature of things. May I live in the world without being of it.
Read Luke 10:25-37
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col. 3:14, NRSV).
It was a religious expert, fearful of appearing silly before an audience of people who ought to hold him in high regard, who asked the self-justifying question that provoked one of Jesus’ best-loved stories. Could it be that he was one of those who, despite their learned reputations, lacked godly wisdom (21)? Certainly, as a so-called religious expert, he was implicated in a way of doing religion that was abhorrent to Jesus through its failure to reflect the grace, compassion and justice of God. How did he react as Jesus’ story exposed this hollow religious culture for what it was? We are never told.
Jesus’ primary purpose in telling this parable was, of course, to illustrate a simple truth, persistently neglected or resisted: love for God and neighbor are indivisible. One cannot be detached from the other. The religious expert’s own Bible was adamant about this (for example, Micah 6:8; Deut 15:7,8). Therefore we could be forgiven for thinking that in asking Jesus the second question he was furiously trying to dodge the ethical implications of his own faith. Jesus didn’t need to explain why the priest and the Levite failed to offer help to the robbers’ victim. Clearly it was a dangerous place in which to linger, and the Samaritan’s actions indicated that practical help was not without cost.
We may prefer to identify with the Samaritan rather than the priest or Levite, but in similar or even less demanding circumstances we can find ourselves justifying why we should pass by on the other side. When was the last time this happened to you? How did you deal with it?
Is there someone to whom you can be a “good Samaritan”? How can you show love for a “neighbor” this week? Take time for prayerful reflection.
Lord, every day I interact with people who have been beaten up by the intensity and chaos of their lives. May I live the Jesus Creed: love You, my Heavenly Father, and then love others.
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