For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/071419.cfm
Our Gospel this Sunday is the familiar story of the Good Samarian. Now as background to this parable, it is important to note that Jews and Samaritans had no contact with each other and in fact were very hostile to each other. What elicited the parable of the Good Samaritan was a question raised by a “scholar of the law” as to what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus responded by asking him: “What is written in the law?” The scholar of the law replied: “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 neighbor as yourself.” Jesus told him that he had answered correctly. We are told, though, that “because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” In response, Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan.
There are at least three things worth noting in this parable. First, the logical people to help the injured man should have been the priest and the Levite. We are told, though, that they passed by. Perhaps the best face we can put on their refusal to help was that they feared the man was dead and if they had come in contact with him it would have rendered them ritually impure. Second, notice that the Samaritan not only was an unlikely person to offer assistance, but the assistance he offered went above and beyond what anyone would have expected. Third, note that at the very end of the parable, Jesus asked the scholar of the law “Which of these three………..was neighbor to the victim?” The man couldn’t even say it was the Samaritan. Instead he answered: “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Our first reading this weekend is taken from the Book of Deuteronomy. In it Moses invited the people to “heed the voice of the Lord, your God, and keep his commandments and statues……………. for it is already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.”
For our second reading this weekend we switch from the Letter to the Galatians, from which we have been reading the past several weeks, to the Letter of Saint Paul to the Colossians. The section we read today is an early Christological hymn. It begins: “Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Who is your neighbor?
- When have you failed to help your neighbor?
- What do you think Paul meant when he said that Christ is the image of the invisible God?