In the Gospel of Saint Luke (10:25-37) this Sunday, Jesus tells us about the two great Commandments, love of God and love of neighbor, and about a man who fell victim to robbers who stripped and beat him and left him half-dead. A priest and Levite passed by the man, possibly thinking that he was already dead. But a Samaritan was “moved with compassion” upon seeing the man and “treated him with mercy.” And then Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, commands us to “go and do likewise.” In light of this Gospel passage, Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.) refers to Jesus Christ as the Samaritan:
That Samaritan of ours, namely Jesus Christ, whom the Jews called a Samaritan, which means Guardian, took pity on him when He was passing the same way, that is when Jesus had come in the flesh as the Just One to die for sinners. He lifted the man up from the ground, and placed him on His own mount; and carrying him like a straying sheep on His own shoulders into paradise, from which he had fallen, He called him back into the hundred, that is into the perfect number. “For He it is,” as the prophet says, “that has borne our sins and has grieved for us” (Isaiah 53:4). Now say, Man, seated on the mount of the Lord’s mercy, on the shoulders of the Lord’s love, say as, being known yourself, you recognize your Creator and Lord, say, “The Lord is my guide.” Which of course you couldn’t say, lying there, unless you had been picked up by the Lord. So it’s the One who is carrying you that is your guide. After all, when you say, “The Lord is my guide,” no proper grounds are left for you to trust in yourself.
And so you must beware of ever becoming conceited about your own merits. You didn’t have any, after all, when the Lord came to pick you up. In fact, He found you naked, without any clothes; He found you beaten up, not in good health; He found you lying on the ground, not standing on your own feet; He discovered you straying, not returning on your own… You see, when you say in a spirit of fear, as you walk in innocence, “the Lord is my guide,” you will confidently be able to add, “and I will lack nothing” since “nothing is lacking for those who fear Him” (Psalm 34:9-10), and “the Lord will not deprive of good things those who walk in innocence” (Psalm 84:11-12).
May we allow ourselves to be guided by God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in our daily life. May we heed God’s call to love Him with all our being and our neighbor as ourselves so that He would bring us to life eternal in Heaven (Luke 10:25-37). May we strive, by God’s grace, to imitate Jesus Christ and be the good Samaritans that He calls us to be – instruments of His mercy and compassion, living in our words and deeds the virtues of faith, hope and love.
With peace and prayers in Christ,