Ordinary Time, 15th Sunday (C) The Good Samaritan is one of Jesus' best known parables. Let's look at some facts. Jerusalem sits at more than 2,400 feet above sea level, while Jericho is 800 feet below sea level. One literally "went down" to Jericho. Travelers always faced the danger of "highway robbery," so it is no surprise that a lone traveler would be attacked and left for dead. What is surprising is that a Samaritan would stop to care for a Jew. Jesus tells his Jewish audience, "Go and do likewise."
This parable beautifully captures the generosity Jesus expects from his disciples. It also tells us about Jesus' love for us. Jerusalem symbolizes the "holy city", the people in communion with God. Jericho was the city Joshua encircled and captured; it symbolizes the kingdom of this world. You were made for Jesus, but the pleasures of this world have robbed you of your dignity. Your repulsive sinfulness hasn't caused Jesus to run from you but instead to run towards you.
Jesus is like the Good Samaritan. He rescues you from sin, washing you in his blood and healing you with the sacraments. He redeemed you, paid the two coins, and entrusted your rehabilitation to the Church. We are recovering sinners. We are called to support one another in recovery and to reach out with compassion to those still in sin. "While we were yet sinners Christ died for us." Go and do likewise.
(10 July 2022)
Going Deeper: What does it mean to reach out with compassion to the sinners around me? How can I support my fellow recovering sinners in their recovery? What kind of support do I need from the church in order to lead a good and holy life?
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