Homily for the fifteenth Sunday of the year - Year C - Lk. 10:25-37
 
 
by
 
Father Daniel Meynen
 
 
 
" Behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, «Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?» He said to him, «What is written in the law? How do you read?» And he answered, «You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.» And he said to him, «You have answered right; do this, and you will live.» But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, «And who is my neighbor?»
 
" Jesus replied, «A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?» He said, «The one who showed mercy on him.» And Jesus said to him, «Go and do likewise.» "
 
 
 
Homily:
 
 
" A lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, «Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?» He said to him, «What is written in the law? How do you read?» "
 
This parable is well known: it is the parable of good Samaritan! A man lies on the road, wounded, and of the three people who come across him, only a Samaritan takes care of him and takes him to an inn for the night. This is what is one must do to truly love one's neighbor! This is the simple meaning of this parable.
 
Since a parable is a sign used to communicate a message, it is not useless to ask if some other, deeper message could not be found here. Looking more closely, it is important to note the type of people being 'put on trial' here. First, the person to whom the parable is addressed: a lawyer. Now, Jesus begins by asking him: "What is written in the law?" A lawyer, who knows the law but does not put it into practice himself, is he a good lawyer? Would he properly fulfill his legal duty with regard to himself? And therefore is he or is he not worthy of the eternal life about which he asks Jesus? Yes, all of the Master's discourse in telling this parable is situated on the plane of people being put on trial...
 
" Jesus replied, «A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.» "
 
The man who goes down from Jerusalem to Jericho has nothing distinctive about him; or at least, if he does, Jesus doesn't tell us. But the first two people who come across the wounded man are a priest and a Levite, that is to say two people who have an important function among the people, a function relating to the worship and the law of God. The contrast is therefore at its maximum: those who are ministers of the Lord refuse to help their neighbor. So those who should demonstrate the goodness and the mercy of almighty God are the very ones who bring a countertestimony before the face of He who is! Yes, because each one of them believed himself to be alone on the road, not thinking or not wanting to think that God watched them, awaiting the testimony of love that must characterize them in virtue of their ministry.
 
" «But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.» "
 
There is the Samaritan! What makes him distinct? Again the law! Because the Samaritans don't go to Jerusalem to adore God, but rather to Mount Gerizim! Jews and Samaritans each have their own laws of worship, as the Samaritan woman who gave Jesus some water to drink explains: "Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." (Jn. 4:20) Again, what a contrast! Here we see that a Samaritan, who doesn't observe the same law as the Jews, comes to the aid of this wounded man, thus accomplishing the law in its perfection! Yes, what a contrast between, on one hand, the priest and the Levite, obliged to testify in favor of the law but who don't act in accordance with it, and on the other hand the Samaritan, who is not obliged in conscience to observe the entire law of the Jews, but who accomplishes it in all its perfection!
 
" «The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.'» "
 
The charity of the Samaritan is really overflowing! Not only does he take care of the wounded man, but he provides for all the expenses that might be incurred! The wounded man truly has good luck! But this wounded man is each one of us! And the good Samaritan is Jesus himself! Yes, Jesus heals all our wounds: he heals us of our sins, and he provides us with everything, entrusting each one of us to the care of the Church, the good inn that is run by an excellent innkeeper! Like the good Samaritan, Jesus also promises us that he will return: our resurrection in the end times will heal us forever of all our wounds! But as we await this, let us receive with faith and charity the Bread of Heaven that rebuilds our strength for our journey on the way of Life! May the Most Holy Virgin Mary help us and guide us constantly!
 

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