National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

The Good Samaritan and You

User’s Guide to Sunday

BY Tom and April Hoopes

July 4-17, 2010 Issue | Posted 6/28/10 at 1:34 PM

 

The Good Samaritan And You

July 11 is the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C, Cycle II).


Saints

July 11 is the feast of St. Benedict. The St. Benedict Medal is a great teaching tool about this saint. Most families have at least one, but it’s hard to keep straight what all the letters and images on the medal mean.

Go to FishEaters.com/stbenedictmedal.html for an explanation.


Readings

Deuteronomy 30:10-14; Psalms 69:14, 17, 30-34, 36, 37; Colossians 1:15-20; Luke 10:25-37


Our Take

The story of the Good Samaritan has inspired lots of commentary over the years.

Pope John Paul II saw this story as fundamental to the Christian vocation and said of it: “In Christ, love of neighbor is the highest expression of the solidarity which binds together all people throughout the world. This solidarity is not just a vague emotion; it is a reality rooted in Christ’s incarnation. For by assuming human nature, (Christ) united all humanity to himself in a supernatural solidarity which makes us one single family. He has made charity the distinguishing mark of his disciples, in the words: ‘By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’ Christ teaches a love that is universal, for all persons are neighbors to one another, regardless of origin, race, culture or religion.”

Pope Paul VI said much the same thing in a succinct way: “The Good Samaritan is the Church! The Good Samaritan is every man and woman! By calling! By duty!”

The Vatican, in the lead-up to the Jubilee Year of 2000, used the parable for a preparatory examination of conscience. Try their questions: “Which side are you on? Are you someone with a hard heart, who ignores the expectations of their neighbor, or are you someone with a merciful heart? There is no third way. Your choices, your behavior will judge you. Are you like the priest and the Levite, or are you the Samaritan? … [For those who didn’t stop] the simple fact of ‘having passed by’ will be how they will be judged and they will be condemned. They have a hard heart; they do not know ‘the merciful heart’ of their God. Let’s question ourselves: How do I describe my relations with others, along the lines of the priest or the Levite, or along the lines of the Samaritan? What resistance or difficulties do I encounter to accomplish the project of the Good Samaritan in my life?”

Pope Benedict XVI suggests to take this message after we have completed that examination of conscience:

“At the end of the parable, Jesus said: ‘Go and do likewise.’ With these words he is also addressing us. Jesus exhorts us to bend over the physical and mental wounds of so many of our brothers and sisters whom we meet on the highways of the world. He helps us to understand that with God’s grace, accepted and lived out in our daily life, the experience of sickness and suffering can become a school of hope. In truth, as I said in the encyclical Spe Salvi, ‘It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love.’”

Tom and April Hoopes write from Atchison, Kansas.