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Gospel Commentary: The Good Samaritan

Why was the good Samaritan good? Because he delayed his journey to help the injured? Because he was willing to part with his coin to aid a man in trouble? In human (non-Christian) terms, the answer would be yes, but in terms of Christianity, the answer lies elsewhere. Christ responds to the question "and who is my neighbor?" by telling the story of the good Samaritan. He mentions that the Samaritan was "moved with compassion" upon seeing the hurt stranger on the road. Then, at the end of the Gospel, the young man who had been questioning Jesus replies that it was the Samaritan who had shown mercy, and therefore exhibited the neighborly qualities necessary to follow Christ and live according to His teachings. Does this mean that God expects you to stop every time you see someone on the side of the road and help them fix a flat? Of course not. But it does mean that the "let someone else handle it" attitude that plagues us must be annihilated from our thought process. We might think it odd that Christ answered the question of "who is my neighbor" with this story, but in fact, this story pales in comparison to the action taken by God in saving us from our injury. The Jew and the Samaritan were certainly much more alike than man and God, and yet we fail to witness to the fact that the Father sent His only Son into the world to redeem us. Talk about stopping at the side of the road to help the less fortunate. He lowered Himself and took on your flesh so that you might be healed. He didn’t take the "I’ll let someone else redeem them" attitude. Thankfully. Imagine our plight if Christ had not been willing to take that condescending step and compassionately reach down and lift us from the spiritual malaise in which we floundered. We’d still be gasping for air, flopping on the sand like a beached carp. He was the only one who could have done the job as the Father desired. How often do you shrug off your responsibilities with the silent mantra, "let someone else do it"? Too often. In God’s great plan He chooses you for many things: to parent, to teach, to guide, to counsel, to aid, to help, to heal. The choice as to whom belongs to God much of the time. Most of the time the recipient of our attention will be those close to us, family and friends, but not always. Remember the words of Christ "whatsoever you do to the least of these, my brothers, you have done unto me." To ignore anyone is to ignore Christ. Through grace and the Sacraments, God disposes us to embrace others as He has embraced us. Not only should we never feel even touch of schadenfreude when witnessing the plight of others, we should not ignore them and assume that someone else will take care of them. Rather we should recall that God constantly bends down and helps us when we are in need, even though it sometimes comes from whom you least expect. Fr. Gee is parochial vicar at Our Lady of Angels Parish in Woodbridge.

Copyright ?2001 Arlington Catholic Herald.  All rights reserved.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2001