Painting by Netherlandish Unknown Master

We are all familiar with today’s Gospel account of Jesus’ answer to the question from a ‘scholar of the law’: “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29)

As always, even, and maybe particularly with passages that are so familiar to us, it is good to sit silently with the passage in prayer to see what the Good Lord will further reveal.

This morning, while praying with this passage, it came uniquely alive.  Several points seem worthy of sharing.  First, the beaten traveller left ‘half dead’ represents all of us.  Our sins have injured our relationship with God, threatening our hope of eternal life, opening the potential for a ‘death’ worse than natural death.

Short of the entrance of Christ into salvation history, neither the ‘priest’ nor the ‘Levite’ can bring the true healing needed by the fragile condition of humanity.  Only Christ has the healing balm that restores life itself.

Christ is the Good Samaritan who enters the path of human existence by the Incarnation.  He comes to greet us not only with love and compassion, but with the healing mercy of the Paschal Mystery. 

He comes with the ‘oil and wine’ of his own blood poured out from the cross for the healing of our sins.  On the cross, Christ becomes the ‘animal’ that carries injured humanity to the ‘inn’ of the Father’s House, the Church.

The Good Samaritan’s instruction to the innkeeper is given to us, the members of the Church: “Take care of him.”  Having been restored to life by Christ, through the life-giving waters of Baptism and the graces of the sacraments, we are to be good Samaritans to others.  We are to be Christ to one another.

This Gospel account asks each of us to be mindful of the ‘great work’ of God in and through the Paschal Mystery of Christ.  Each of us are called to a personal, conscious, grateful realization of the healing mercy we have received from Christ.   This is the knowledge that leads to the true joy of Christan life and discipleship.  Life and love lived from this realization is what gives credence to our Christian way of life and attracts others to embrace the truth of the Gospel.

This Gospel account reminds us that we are not just ‘hearing’ another story when we listen to God’s Holy Word.  This Word of God has power and grace; it is active and alive for our sake, for our continual transformation and conversion. 

May the Gospel proclaimed in our hearing today continue to take away our sins, restore us to life, and lead us to lives of service, love and compassion for our neighbor.