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!”
The Samaritan also does something else that seems unthinkable today: he takes responsibility for his actions. In a world where charity has come within reach by “clicks,” the Samaritan does not delegate the care of the other, but dismounts his horse and takes charge of the afflicted man. Here we return to the beginning of our parable.
Imagine the man who was attacked waking up the next day in an inn, safe and sound. Imagine him asking what happened and imagine his astonishment when he learns that a foreigner, whom he too may have hated, rescued him. An anonymous Samaritan, who carried out a gesture of mercy, perhaps will heal that mistrust in humanity caused by attacking bandits.
Here Jesus confronts us with two great truths: that we are all bearers of salvation and that our anonymity will not be such in the eyes of God, but it is necessary in the eyes of men so as not to produce that dependence that beneficence makes between benefactor and beneficiary.