The Good Samaritan

12th Sunday after Pentecost
Beloved in Jesus Christ, today Our Lord gives us this parable of the Good Samaritan.
Christ here is speaking not only of the evident love of neighbor we must have, but he is speaking in sign, about great cosmic events. He says: ‘A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho….’ The Fathers of the Church tell us, that he says ‘a certain man’ because he is speaking about Adam – and at once he is speaking of the whole human race: Man.
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‘This man went down from ‘Jerusalem…’ As St. Augustine says, ‘Jerusalem’ means peace, and so this signifies Paradise, which mankind originally posessed. But it says, this man went down from there to Jericho. Jericho signifies this fallen world – the fallen state of Man.
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In those days, a person would be taking a great risk to go alone along such a road, which was well-known for its thieves and robbers. The human race is not guiltless in that we chose and continue to choose – the dangerous road when we give into temption. And the dangers are real: St. Ambrose says that those robbers that acosted the man – they represent the Angels of Darkness, that is, the Devil and his minions.
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The Devil stripped mankind of virtue and wounded us, leaving us half-dead. Augustine says that ‘half-dead’ means that Man is alive, but at the same time because we are corrupted and pressed down by sin, we are dead.
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The priest and the Levite who come by, offering no help – these signify the Law and the Prophets which of themselves could not save us. Only Christ can save us, and he is typified by the Good Samaritan who is not of any particular tribe.
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It says, ‘The Samaritan, being on a journey….’ And in fact, Christ is on a journey, himself coming down from heaven to heal and save us. Only the Lord can save us. We can put our faith so easily in other things: politics, financial security, popularity – as if somehow, if these things are solved, all will be well. But in the end, this planet will burn up in fire, and our body will rot.
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Only Christ can heal our wounds and save us and bring us safely to the inn, which is heaven; and Christ can only save us if we love God and neighbor.
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Hateful, selfish people will not be saved, and therefore the Holy Scriptures lay out for us this gospel today. This Lawyer speaking to Jesus – it says, ‘He wishing to justify himself said, and who is my neighbor?’ St. Cyril tells us: this lawyer, who has so much pride, proves himself to be devoid of love of neighbor, since he did not consider anyone to be his neighbor.
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But everyone is our neighbor.

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[Entrusted to the prayers of St. Mary, niece of Abraham]

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