Saturday, July 10, 2010


1. The expert who asked Jesus knows the Law of Moses. He quoted from Duet 6:5, Leviticus 19:18. Law implies two types of relationships, vertical and horizontal. A person cannot maintain good vertical relationship without also caring for neighbors.

2. Jerusalem to Jericho – the distance was about seventeen miles on road that was notoriously dangerous. Jerusalem is 2500 feet above the sea level, Jericho is 700 feet below and so the journey is downwards. Priest who served in the Temple, the temple assistant were concerned over defilement – they would not be able to worship. The next person is Samaritan, nobody would have thought that he would help a Jew but he did.

3. A scorned Samaritan knows how to show love to his neighbours, whereas a priest and Levite who had intimate knowledge of God’s law do not.

4. Oil was used to soothe wounds; wine was used as a disinfectant. The Samaritan if he paid a typical rate of one-twelfth of a denarius a day, paid for twenty four days at the inn, he has spent a lot of his money. Given the man had been robbed, such support was necessary. Compassion is concretely expressed in both time and money.

5. The point of the story is not to show contrast between Jews and Samaritans to the advantage of the latter but a contrast between those who were established and recognized as part of the people and those who were not.

All of us are so familiar with this parable that it may sound as a cliché. We may fail to understand the real meaning of the gospel. Today we have a lot of neighbors but very few good Samaritans. The priest and Levite were not actually bad people but they gave their priority to institution forgetting the person. Whenever we encounter a person who meets with an accident, most of us feel pity but are not ready to take the risk of helping the person in need. We are worried about the formalities it would demand. Certainly the Samaritan had to take a huge risk. He had to give his donkey, money and time for a person whom he might have hated from his childhood. Let us not pass through this day without becoming a Good Samaritan for at least one person who is in need!
New Illustrated Bible Commentary
Bible Background Commentary
Sacra Pagina Series

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