Luke 10:25-37 The Good Samaritan
At that time, a lawyer stood up to put Jesus to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.” But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
There exists in Christian Tradition a Wisdom regarding how to live the Gospel. This Wisdom reminds us that the purely literal reading of Scripture may not be enough for us to know how to live. Our Lord Jesus Himself was a Wisdom teacher – not a law giver, but offering the Divine Wisdom to guide us in our thinking and our decision making. The Gospel Lesson of the Good Samaritan tells us to go and imitate the Good Samaritan – be neighborly to those you meet in life, even if they are strangers or enemies. You don’t have to wait until someone is in dire straights or suffering from misfortune before being neighborly to them. Being neighborly may entail intervening in a situation before it become tragic. The Tradition also advocates that we approach all neighbors with wisdom – we do need to understand what we are getting into before thrusting ourselves into every situation oblivious to the risks involved. In THE PARADISE OF THE HOLY FATHERS, we find this wisdom story advocating wisdom to the would be Good Samaritan:
One of the old men used to say, “If you see a man who has fallen into the water, and you can help him, stretch out your staff to him, and draw him out, lest, if you stretch out your hand to him, and you are not able to bring him up, he drags you down and both of you perish.” Now he spoke this for the sake of those who thrust themselves forward to help other people who are being tempted, and who, through wishing to help others beyond their power, themselves fall. It is right for a man to help his brother according to the power that he has, for God demands not from a man that which is beyond his strength.