The Good Samaritan

Today's Gospel is the Parable of The Good Samaritan.

                                                                 Image by Aime Morot from here

Biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann, in his book Finally Comes the Poet, reminds us that
"Church people are like other people; we are not changed by rules. The deep places in our lives—places of resistance and embrace—are not ultimately reached by instruction.
Those places of resistance and embrace are reached only by stories, by images, metaphors and phrases that line out the world differently, apart from fear or hurt."

Brueggemann suggests that the parables and stories of Jesus “intend to characterize an alternative society which he calls ‘kingdom of God.’” But he says “The stories do not offer blueprints, budgets, or programs. They only tease the listeners to begin to turn loose of the givens of the day and to live toward a new social possibility.”

La parabola del Buon Samaritano Messina Chiesa della Medaglia Miracolosa Casa di Ospitalità Collereale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Reflections on this parable from Fr. Ron Rolheiser  OMI  from here.

  • This is a great poem on The Good Samaritan by e.e. cummings from here.

Martin Luther King, Jr., in his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech, on the day before his death, described the road as follows:
"I remember when Mrs. King and I were first in Jerusalem. We rented a car and drove from Jerusalem down to Jericho. And as soon as we got on that road I said to my wife, "I can see why Jesus used this as the setting for his parable." It's a winding, meandering road. It's really conducive for ambushing.

 Image sources

You start out in Jerusalem, which is about twelve hundred miles, or rather, twelve hundred feet above sea level, actually about 2100 feet or 640 metres and by the time you get down to Jericho fifteen or twenty minutes later, you're about twenty-two feet below sea level.
That's a dangerous road.
In the days of Jesus it came to be known as the "Bloody Pass."
And you know, it's possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around.

Or it's possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking, and he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure.

And so the first question that the priest asked, the first question that the Levite asked was, "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" King continues:
But then the Good Samaritan came by, and he reversed the question:

 "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him? "  

  • The complete text of Martin Luther's speech is here.

Related articles

The Good Samaritan ( 
offers a fresh perspective.

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