“Jesus Proposed the Samaritan as Model Who, Loving His Brother as Himself, Shows He Loves”
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
Today the Gospel gives us the famous parable of the “Good Samaritan” (Cf. Luke 10:25-37). Questioned by a Doctor of the Law about what is necessary to inherit eternal life, Jesus invites him to find the answer in the Scriptures: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself” (v. 27). There were, however, different interpretations about who should be understood as “neighbor.” In fact, that man asked again: “And who is my neighbor?” (v. 29). At this point, Jesus responds with the parable that, thanks to the evangelist Luke, has left an indelible imprint on the history of the Church and of humanity.
The protagonist of the brief account is a Samaritan, who on the road met a man robbed and beaten by brigands and he takes care of him. We know that the Jews were contemptuous of the Samaritans, considering them foreign to the Chosen People. Therefore, it’s no accident in fact that Jesus chose a Samaritan as the positive personage of the parable. In this way, He wished to overcome the prejudice, showing that even a foreigner, even one who doesn’t know the true God and doesn’t frequent the Temple, is capable of behaving according to His will, feeling compassion for a needy brother and helping him with all the means at his disposal.
On that same road, before the Samaritan, a priest and a Levite has already passed, that is, persons dedicated to the worship of God. However, seeing the poor man on the ground, they went on without stopping, probably not to be contaminated by his blood. They had put a human rule linked to worship before the great commandment of God, who first of all wants mercy.
Jesus, therefore, proposes the Samaritan as model who, loving his brother as himself, shows he loves God with all his heart and all his strength, and expresses at the same time true religiosity and full humanity.
After recounting the parable, Jesus addresses the Doctor of the Law again, who had asked Him “Who is my neighbor?” And He says to him: “Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” (v. 36). In this way, He brings about a reversal in regard to His interlocutor’s question, and also to the logic of us all. He makes us understand that it’s not we that, on the basis of our criteria, define who is and who is not our neighbor, but it’s the person in a situation of need who must be able to recognize who is his neighbor, namely, “the one who showed mercy on him” (v. 37). This conclusion indicates that mercy, in confronting a human life in a state of necessity, is the true face of love. It is thus that we become true disciples of Jesus and that the face of the Father is manifested: “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). It is thus that the commandment of the love of God and of our neighbor becomes a unique and coherent rule of life.
May the Virgin Mary help us to understand and, especially, to live ever more the inseparable bond there is between love of God, our Father, and concrete and generous love of our brethren.
After the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Once again, I wish to express my closeness to the beloved Venezuelan people, particularly tried by the continuing crisis. Let us pray to the Lord to inspire and illumine the parties involved, so that they can come to an agreement as soon as possible, that will put an end to the sufferings of the people, for the good of the country and of the whole region.
My heartfelt greeting to you all, Romans and pilgrims of Italy and of various parts of the world: the families, the parish groups and associations.
In particular, I greet the young people of the diocese of Pamplona and Tudela, those of the Course for Formators organized by the “Regnum Christi,” the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, who are holding their General Chapter, and the Confirmation youngsters of Bolgare (Bergamo).
I send a warm greeting to the Polish faithful taking part in the annual Pilgrimage of Radio Maria to the Shrine of Czestochowa.
I wish you all a happy Sunday and, please, don’t forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye!
Virginia M. Forrester