Posted by: fvbcdm | July 13, 2017

Feast of Saint Henry (13 Jul 2017)

Let’s think about our Lord’s parable of the Good Samaritan for a moment.  To begin with, most of us miss at least part of our Lord’s point because we don’t know what a Samaritan was.  You see, the Holy Land, in those days, was basically divided into three areas.  In the south, there was Judea, with the capital city Jerusalem—the heart of all Judaism.  North of Judea was Samaria, whose inhabitants were called Samaritans.  Several centuries before the time of Jesus, the Samaritans had separated themselves from the Jews politically, socially, and religiously.  They had their own religion, their own temple, their own government, and, because of this, there was much antagonism between Samaritans and Jews.

North of Samaria was Galilee, where Jesus grew up in Nazareth and where He spent most of his public life on the shores of the sea of Galilee.  Jews going back and forth between Galilee and Judea usually went by way of the Jordan river valley to avoid ugly confrontations with the Samaritans, who occupied the spine of the country.  When the scholar of the law asked Jesus, “who is my neighbor?” Jesus gave him and the entire world this famous and beautiful story of the Good Samaritan.  In the Jewish mind, a “good Samaritan” was a contradiction in terms.  There were no good Samaritans in their view.  Yet, after a Levite—one of the “good guys”—and a priest—another one of the “good guys”—have passed the wounded man in the ditch without doing a thing to help him, a Samaritan comes along and does exactly what he should have done in terms of humanitarian and merciful behavior.

So you see, Jesus is telling us at least two things here: (1) do what you can for anyone in need; and (2) don’t fall into the error of discrimination and prejudice.  Just because a man is a Samaritan doesn’t make him bad.  Just because a man is a priest or a Levite doesn’t make him good.  Just because a man is a member of a minority in our own society doesn’t make him undesirable.  Elsewhere, our Lord sums up His teaching on benevolence by saying to us, “Whatever you do to these, the least of My brothers, you do to me.”  Thank you for allowing God to love you, God bless you.

Note:  Father Brown composed this message some years ago.  Please pray for the souls of the faithful departed, including Father Brown.

 

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