Little Tim was in the garden filling a hole when his neighbor peered over the fence. Interested in what the youngster was doing, he politely asked, "What are you up to there, Tim?" "My goldfish died," replied Tim tearfully, without looking up, "and I've just buried him." The neighbor said, "That's an awfully big hole for a goldfish, isn't it Tim?" Tim patted down the last heap of earth, and then replied, "That's because he's still inside your stupid cat."
This weekend readings tells us that God reveals in Scripture, in Jesus Christ and in our
neighbor. A scholar of the law asked Jesus a very basic religious question: “What should I do to
inherit eternal life?” In answer to the question, Jesus directed his attention to the Sacred
Scriptures. Jesus asked him, "How do you read it?" The scriptural answer is “love God and
express it by loving your neighbor.” However, to the scribe the word “neighbor” meant another Scribe or Pharisee – never a Samaritan or a Gentile. Hence, the Scribe insisted on further
clarification of the word “neighbor.” So Jesus told him the parable of the Good Samaritan.
It is tough story for the scholar to here. In this parable the Priest and the Levite “passed by on the opposite side.” They had their own reason. The law didn’t allow them to interact on that
situation. At the time of Jesus, Jews and Samaritans interact each other. They were enemies. Here Jesus describes the parable of Good Samaritan as the answer to the questions. The scholar might have asked himself, “Do you want us to be like that Samaritan, who is our enemy?”
The parable clearly indicated that a “neighbor” is anyone who needs help and anyone who gives that help. Thus, the correct approach is not to ask the question “Who is my neighbor?” but rather to ask, “Am I a good neighbor to others?”
The Good Samaritan’s story can take us to so many realms of life. The first and foremost thing is about the Good Samaritan is that “he came near,” while the priest and the Levite “passed by on the opposite side.” God always come closer our life. Jesus came in person to be with us. Clement of Alexandria sees the Samaritan as Jesus: “Who can this neighbor be but the Savior himself? Who but he has had pity on us as we lay almost dead from the dark forces of this world, with so many wounds, so many fears and passions, so much anger, so much sorrow, so much deception, so many deceptive pleasures? Jesus alone can heal these wounds.”
Origen of Alexandria writes about the story of the Good Samaritan, “The man who was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho is Adam. Jerusalem is Paradise. Jericho is this world. The thieves are the forces of the enemy. The priest is the Law. The Levite is the prophets. The
Samaritan is Christ. The wounds are disobedience. The horse is the body of Christ. The inn that is open to all who wish to enter is the Church. The two denarii are the Father and the Son. The inn-keeper is the pastor of the flock, whose duty is to care. The Samaritan’s promise to return indicates the Savior’s Second Coming.”
This weekend reading invites us to meditate on core of our faith: the root of the Ten Commandments, which is LOVE GOD and NEIGHBOUR. Who is my neighbor? Let us make a list our neighbors and see who are in and who are out of the list.