July 11, 2010 – Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The portion of St. Luke’s Gospel we read in 10:25-37 contains one of the most familiar of all parables, that of the Good Samaritan. We all know the story Jesus told: a traveler is mugged, beaten and robbed on his journey from Jerusalem to Jericho; the respected religious leaders of his own people pass him by without caring for him; a Samaritan, a member of a hostile community, stops, helps him, and takes him where he can receive further care.
The context of the parable is important. Jesus had been asked what the greatest commandment in the Old Testament Law was. His answer joined two commandments together: “You shall love the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 6:4) and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). The Good Samaritan was the answer to the question that followed, Who is my neighbor?
The scribe who asked the questions was able to recognize that the Samaritan, rather than the men from the victim’s own nation and religion, was the one who acted as a neighbor to the man who had been robbed and beaten.
In fact, the Good Samaritan is almost of model of the perfect steward. He gave of his time by stopping and caring for the beaten man. He took him to an inn, perhaps even out of his way, and provided further care. He even promised to come back to the inn to see what follow-up was needed.
The Good Samaritan also contributed his talent. He may not have had medical training, but he offered the first aid of the era by pouring olive oil and wine on the wounds, bandaging them, provided transportation to the inn, and nursed him though the night.
The Good Samaritan even committed his treasure. He paid for the oil and the wine he used; he paid the hotel bill and even promised to return to settle any remaining balance. His actions demonstrated what is expected of a Christian steward.
Hearing the example of the Good Samaritan, perhaps all the challenge we need was spoken by Moses in Deuteronomy 30: “This command…is something very near to you… you have only to carry it out.”