Daily Reflection – 10/7/19
There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37)
This parable is so familiar to us that we often see only one of its dimensions. Certainly it presents a model for us to follow – “Go and do the same yourself” – but it also presents us with a self-portrait of Christ; it reveals what kind of a Lord he is. Each of us has been robbed of our original holiness by original sin. Our own selfishness and sins (and the sins of others) have deeply wounded our souls. We lay on the side of life’s path in need of a Savior. We have been bruised and broken and wounded; the Lord kneels down and lifts us up with his healing touch.
Christ is the Good Samaritan, the merciful Lord who heals and restores us with the balm of his sacraments, who pays for our salvation with the boundless riches of his grace, poured out generously on Calvary’s cross and entrusted to the innkeeper of the Church, who watches over our convalescence until he comes again. He is the Lord, yes, but the truly noble Lord, who cares enough to come meet us in our need and carry us safely to his Father’s inn.
Jesus, thank you for coming to earth, paying the price of my sins, and inviting me to your heavenly banquet. I don’t thank you enough for all you have done for me. You didn’t pass me by when you saw me in need. You never do. You are always with me, no matter how hard life may get. Keep me faithful to you, Lord, just as you are always faithful to me.
How I yearn for clarity of mind! Life seems so complicated sometimes, Lord. I know it’s because I’m too self-absorbed. Help me, teach me, send me the wisdom of your Spirit, clean out the junk drawer of my soul. I want to be completely free to live life as you created me to live it.
I love you, Lord; teach me to do your will. Being a Good Samaritan at times seems too hard, too demanding. But I know, even from my own experience, that it’s really not so hard at all – once I decide to do it. Help me to be courageous in those critical moments of decision. If I can resist the temptation to self-centeredness right when a chance to love presents itself, the rest will be smooth sailing…
The message is clear: there are no limits as to whom the law of love must be applied. A neighbor is not simply one who lives next door or in our town or country. A neighbor is not of geography but of the heart — one whom we come across on the road when we travel, who is need of money, food and clothing is also our neighbor in this modern time.