Luke 10: 25-37

An expert in the Law of Moses stood up and asked Jesus a question to see what he would say. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to have eternal life?”

Jesus answered, “What is written in the Scriptures? How do you understand them?”

The man replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.’ They also say, ‘Love your neighbours as much as you love yourself.’”

Jesus said, “You have given the right answer. If you do this, you will have eternal life.”

But the man wanted to show that he knew what he was talking about. So he asked Jesus, “Who are my neighbours?”

Jesus replied: As a man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, robbers attacked him and grabbed everything he had. They beat him up and ran off, leaving him half dead.
A priest happened to be going down the same road. But when he saw the man, he walked by on the other side. Later a temple helper came to the same place. But when he saw the man who had been beaten up, he also went by on the other side.
A man from Samaria then came travelling along that road. When he saw the man, he felt sorry for him and went over to him. He treated his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put him on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.
The next morning he gave the innkeeper two silver coins and said, “Please take care of the man. If you spend more than this on him, I will pay you when I return.”

Then Jesus asked, “Which one of these three people was a real neighbour to the man who was beaten up by robbers?”

The teacher answered, “The one who showed pity.”

Jesus said, “Go and do the same!”

Gospel Reflection

The people knew the story of the Good Samaritan. It was a tale told to make fun of the priests and the lawyers. To poke a sideways dig at the pomp and ceremony; the oneupmanship of the commoner. Because the story usually ended with the hero being one of them; an ordinary Jew.

Jesus is not so predictable; an ordinary Jew is not enough of a surprise; an ordinary Jew has their own agenda that they can all cheer along with. It’s an easy game to criticise ‘them’ – we do it ourselves with politicians, with media stars, with the Church’s hierarchy. We find ways of judging the stranger so as to avoid looking at ourselves. A Samaritan isn’t just a stranger; they are an alien; an enemy. There is no way of understanding or justifying their behaviour. And yet, look at what a stranger did.

So the people who are challenged, and hopefully changed, are the ordinary Jews. Does this story, a favourite of so many, challenge us?