October 3, 2016

Gospel LK 10:25-37

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.”
Today’s gospel brings to mind the old saying: “Actions speak louder than words.”
The scholar of the law knew the answer to his own question, ““Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
It is clear that the scholar answered Jesus accurately when He was asked, “What is written in the law? Jesus affirms him by saying, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”
Taking the exchange a step further, the scholar of the law asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replies with what has become one of the most well known bible passages, the parable of the Good Samaritan.
The priest and the Levite (a person dedicated to God) passed by the injured man. Many people have speculated on the reason for them not lending assistance.
Perhaps they thought he was feigning injury and intended to rob them. Perhaps they feared that touching the injured man would render them “unclean” and they would have to go through a purification process before attending synagogue or temple services.
But, the Samaritan, a foreigner, did not concern himself with such things.
Instead, he simply loaded the injured man on his donkey and spent his time and money to make sure the man received help.
We can pray and observe every religious rule of our church. But, if we do not act out of love for the sake of others than all our observances will be empty gifts laid at the feet of God.
“If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”  – –Corinthians 13:1-3