15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Deuteronomy 30:10-14; Psalm 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36-37; Colossians 1:15-20;Luke 10:25-37
“Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:37)
In a series of TV advertisements, a US insurance company touted the benefits of using their website by saying it was “so easy a caveman can do it.” The implication was that anyone with half a brain could figure it out. Well, today’s Gospel reading has a similar moral: The call to care for the needy is so obvious that “even a Samaritan” would do it.
Jesus told this parable because a “scholar of the law” asked him, “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:25, 29). According to Luke, the question was really a trap. But knowing what was in the man’s heart, Jesus turned the tables on him. By telling a story about a Samaritan who did the right thing when other experts in the Law like this lawyer didn’t, Jesus made it clear that it doesn’t take years of study to know how to love God and love our neighbor. It just takes the courage and the humility to do what is right.
What person in his or her right mind would walk right past a man who had nearly been beaten to death? Anyone confronted with this situation would feel a sense of obligation, an inner conviction to help save the man’s life. But in the parable, it took a Samaritan, someone considered uncouth and outside of God’s covenant grace, to do the right thing. What’s more, this man goes beyond the bounds of everyday kindness. He pays for the wounded man’s treatment and even promises to return and pick up the tab for any other expenses the man may incur. Such extreme generosity—even from a Samaritan—would win the admiration of anyone who knew about it!
Jesus tells us the same thing he told the lawyer, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37). It’s that simple. It’s that clear. It’s so easy, in fact, that a Samaritan can do it. So go and do likewise. Listen to that inner urge to reach out and help. Act quickly to do what is right. Who knows how many lives you may save?
“Jesus, teach me to love my neighbor as you love me—immediately, generously, and extravagantly.” ~WAU