Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Scripture Readings and Reflection

You can get all the readings for today's Mass here.

The Gospel is the really well known parable of the Good Samaritan and for that reason some may be cynical before I even start...

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said,
"Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus said to him, "What is written in the law?
He said in reply,
You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbour as yourself."
He replied to him, "You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live."
But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
"And who is my neighbour?"...................................

My reflections on the Parable.

First : Any story with a donkey in it gets my attention.

Secondly : People say nowadays you are  likely to get shot at  or attacked for helping out the victim of a mugging  or have to seek the protection of a Good Samaritan Bill which  protects those who go to the assistance of an ill or injured person from being sued as a result of their interventions.

Image source

It seems that we are more and more reluctant to help anyone out, because of the greater concern for our own safety.

But it is not really a modern excuse at all. Funnily enough, 2000 years ago, this is exactly what the priest and temple assistant did when they saw the beaten up Jewish man. 

They went to the other side of the street, ignoring the man in order to not be targeted by his assailants or to be associated with the defiled man.

It was one despised outsider, a Samaritan who worried more about what would happen to the victim if he did nothing, rather than what would happen to himself if he did something that was the surprise.

Thirdly : Basically we are all in the s...t together.......

Perhaps it is about time for us in this 21st Century to realise this and move forward to rename Independence Day and all the other National Days Inter-Dependence Days.

Christians who love God -- who love Christ -- engage in social justice towards others based on loving their neighbours as themselves. 

Social justice as a philosophy is about  the actions of individuals just as much as the action of governments. Social justice is about being the good neighbour.  Martin Luther King Jr says
• The good neighbour looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human, and therefore brothers. • Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
• True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice that produces beggars needs restructuring.
• Life's most urgent question is: What am I doing for others?

Richard Rohr  says "Jesus only directly answers 3 of the 183 questions that he is asked in the four Gospels! 

This may be surprising to people who have grown up assuming that the very job description of religion is to give people answers and to resolve peoples' dilemmas.

Apparently this is not Jesus' understanding of the function of religion because he operates very differently. Jesus either keeps silent as with Pilate (John 19:9), returns with another question as with the coin of Caesar (Matthew 22:19), or gives an illustration, as in today's Gospel Reading with the Good Samaritan story (Luke 10:30f).

At other times he puts the question back inside the frame of reference of the enquirer, as if to make them critique it. He does so with the rich young man: "You know the commandments" (Mark 10:19).

Richard Rohr's reflections are here and are well worth a read.

and here is another great reflection  which points out that the real scandal in the parable is not the religious priests who pass by on the other side .

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