Gospel Reflection July 10 – Deacon Frank
Sunday, July 10
Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 10: 25-37
There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law?
How do you read it?”
He said in reply,
“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.”
He replied to him, “You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live.”
But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?”
“A man fell victim to robbers
as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road,
but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place,
and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him
was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim,
poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.
Then he lifted him up on his own animal,
took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins
and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,
‘Take care of him.
If you spend more than what I have given you,
I shall repay you on my way back.’
Which of these three, in your opinion,
was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
When Jesus tells a lawyer that to inherit eternal life, he must love God and love his neighbor as much as he loves himself, the question immediately follows, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus does not define who the lawyer’s neighbor might be, but he tells him a story instead – the famous parable of the good Samaritan in which we hear this weekend.
Jesus intended the story to demonstrate the nature of love in God’s kingdom. The response to “Who is my neighbor?” is that everyone, including my enemy, is my neighbor. The Samaritan’s compassion was costly.
It involves making himself vulnerable to attack by robbers because he was walking instead of riding after giving the beaten man his mount.
He also made a financial payment to an innkeeper to look after the victim without any expectation of being repaid.
He might even have been ostracized by his own people for assisting a Jew.
Jesus directly asked the lawyer which of the three travelers was a neighbor to the injured man. “The one who took pity on him,” he replies. To underline the message still further, Jesus instructs the lawyer to “Go, and do the same yourself.”
Jesus asked that we care about our neighbors with the same intensity that we care about ourselves. We are to love as he loved us, and even an enemy is redefined as a neighbor. Active involvement with people who are downtrodden and oppressed is a key feature of loving outreach in God’s kingdom.
It might mean taking initiatives to reach out to vulnerable and destitute people in our community who could never repay our favors.
It might mean taking up campaigns for justice and peace that try to tackle the causes of suffering at home and overseas.
Working to highlight root causes of violence and war where whole groups of people are demonized as “enemies” will almost certainly draw criticism since this goes against the prevailing culture, but it is what God expects of us.
This weekend when we go to Mass, Jesus is teaching us that it is possible to go beyond the boundaries human society has constructed and to do things in a different and revolutionary way.
-Deacon Frank Iannarino