The Good Samaritan

“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, 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 while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ ”

(Lk 10:30-35)

Again Jesus points out clear differences between the exterior and the innermost aspects of human beings. At that time, Jericho was a dwelling village in which Levites and Priests resided after returning from the week's service in the Temple. A Priest, expected to be an example of love for his fellowman, passed by avoiding the attacked man. The same did the Levite who had a respectable position and was highly regarded among his people. (1) Neither showed the smallest compassion for the semi dead fellow because their intuitions were obliterated by intellectual calculations helped by their rigid religion which affirmed that the spilled blood was an “impure liquid”. The only one who had mercy on the unfortunate man was a Samaritan.

Samaritans were inhabitants of Samaria, a name derived from its original landlord, Semer. In the time of Christ, this region was located between Galilee in the North and Judea in the South. In 880 BC the King Onri of Israel founded a city with this same name, Samaria, actually Sabastya, located 56 kilometers from Jerusalem.

Samaritans were despised by Jews because they professed a different religion from the Israelis. They meddled with paganism and did not recognize the Temple of Jerusalem. They constructed their own Temple in Garizim around 400 BC; the Temple was destroyed by Jews later on. Besides they had a “half-coarse” blood due to breeding with strangers who had come in contact with the Assyrian conquerors. Because of that the Jews avoided contact with them: “For Jews do not associate with Samaritans” (John 4:9). The Samaritans were considered “the foolish people that live in Sechem it's not even a people” (Sirach 50:25-26). The city of Sechem was the capital of Samaria's northern Kingdom. When the Pharisees insulted Jesus, they called him Samaritan: “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon? (John 8:48). For Jews of that time, it was the worst insult to be compared to a Samaritan and the idea of a ”good Samaritan" would be for them inconceivable. When they needed to visit the north they preferred to make an enormous detour instead of passing through Samaritan territory.

Nevertheless the exteriors and preconceptions invented by men have no significance, no weight in the face of the laws of Creation. A good indication of the worth or unworthiness of a human creature is solely his or her innermost being, only and exclusively the intuitive or spiritual volition. About this fact Jesus gave various proofs as for example when he asked a Samaritan woman for a cup of water (check John 4:7), also when he cured leprosies and noticed that only one, a Samaritan, came back to thank him (check Luke 17:15-18)

When the Samaritan perceived the distress of the attacked victim, he suffered with him, “as though you yourselves were being tortured” (Hebrews 13:3). When he saw the man, he had compassion, or as literally written in the Greek: “he had a commotion into his guts”.

The Samaritan realized perfectly the suffering of his fellow man and did everything to minimize it. He did not think about any gain, as for example, to be well considered among his acquaintance or hoping that a good action could be credited to him in heaven, not even to calm down his own conscience. He did that without any interest; simply for the sake of mitigating that suffering. He did not bother if that man was a Samaritan, Jew or Roman. He complied naturally with the law of Love; “Love others as much as you love yourself.” (Matthew 22:39; Luke 10:27), because “When you love others, you complete what the law has been all along” (Roman 13:8); “Love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Roman 13:10).

The Lord's Commandments are automatically fulfilled by the human being who loves his fellow man as himself. A common and material happening, apparently not important, showed the greatness of the heart because in the small things the greatest is reflected: “Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much” (Luke 16:10). The Samaritan, considered a heretic and an outlaw by his neighbors, was exactly the one who unleashed the Law of Reciprocity in the sense desired by the Highest i.e. for his own sake.

  1. Levites where members of “Levi tribe”, descendants of Levi, one of the twelve sons of Jacob the Patriarch (check Gn 29:34). They traditionally where in charge of the Temple service. They assisted the sacerdotal class of Sadducees in the exercise of their functions. They had the right to receive a tenth for themselves and lived in Levite cities. Return

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