The Good Samaritan

Sunday, July 10, 2022

“Go and do likewise.” There are a couple very important points in our Mass readings today. The first comes from Moses in the Book of Deuteronomy. Recall that Moses is a prophet, meaning that God speaks to His people through Moses, so these are God’s words to His people (you and me). This entire reading tells us how and why to be the “Good Samaritan.” God wrote His commandments on our hearts. He wrote natural law on our hearts. These are our morals. When we turn from our morals, we turn away from God. When we accept God’s will as our own, we can’t help but follow His commandments with all our hearts and all our souls. It comes naturally. Jesus illustrates this lesson in the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Recall who the Samaritans were. They were once Israelites, united under King David. After David’s death, his son Solomon became King; when Solomon died, his son Rehoboam became King. A man named Jeroboam went to the new King to redress the issue of the place of worship.  Rehoboam refused to alter the place of worship designated by his father Solomon. This ultimately split the kingdom of Israel into the Northern Kingdom (10 tribes) and the Southern Kingdom (2 tribes). The Samaritans are part of the Northern Kingdom, all who turned away from the House of David. They built altars to false gods, namely Baal. See 1 Kings chapter 12 for the secession and the errors of the Northern Kingdom. This is important to understand how the Jews viewed Samaritans in this reading today.

Jesus reiterates that God has written His commandments (our morals) on the hearts of all humans. By using a Samaritan, He illustrates for us that even those who are far from God can heed the call for moral stewardship because God has written that on our hearts. Moses says that we don’t need any external training or formation (someone to go fetch this knowledge for us) to hear and heed this commandment, and Jesus sums up that point in the character of the Samaritan.

We might also take a cue of who this Samaritan could be by the phrase, “I shall repay you on my way back.” Samaritans were foreign to the Judeans, just as Jesus was foreign to the Pharisees and the Sadducees. They tried to kill Him on many occasions because he was a threat to their authority, since they worshipped the law more than God. They often missed the opportunity to show mercy because they loved the law so much. Thus, Jews would purposely travel around Samaria as though it were a leper colony. Recall John chapter 4, the story of the Woman at the Well. Jesus often used hyperbole to accentuate his points, so this is not really a stretch when you really think about it. Double meanings are another tool that Jesus used, especially in parables, to drive home an important message. The point is to ask yourself how far are you from God? Do you trust Him enough to allow His will in your life or to yield your will to His?

So, in order to “go and do likewise,” we must let go of self and let God’s ways flow from our hearts naturally. Act according to the morals that God has written on our hearts, without anxiety over what others will think or say about it. We don’t need special training or formation to do what’s right. And God’s will is always the right thing to do.

Ms. Renee Valenzuela, OP

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