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The Good Samaritan

by Fr. Chrysostom Baer, O.Praem., Prior

 

Monday of the 27th Week Per Annum, Year II

In the sacred scriptures, since they are the inspired word of God, nothing is said without meaning, no detail is superfluous. The parable we just heard in the Gospel is an excellent example of this.

“A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.” Adam, our first parent, through Original Sin went down from the Jerusalem where God is worshiped to Jericho where sin reigned, and with him went every other man in the human race. “He fell in with robbers.” These robbers were first the demonic powers intent on man’s destruction, then they were joined by those men who hate their fellow men. These robbers despoiled the man by stripping him of his robe of grace and the riches of his virtue, and they inflicted wounds of sin and vice, leaving him half-dead, that is, dead to God but alive only to this world, truly more than half-dead.

The priest and the Levite who pass by without assisting are the Old Testament Law and prophets who could do nothing for the state of man’s sinfulness. The old Law merely indicated sin but did not remedy it, and then it passed away in favor of the Samaritan.

And who is the Samaritan other than our Lord, Jesus Christ? Some scholars hold that the word “Samaritan” means “guardian.” And who is guardian of our souls other than He of Whom the psalmist says that He is the guardian Who neither sleeps nor slumbers? This Samaritan, seeing mankind in the awful state of sin, was moved by mercy. He must have seen him from afar, for He brought with Him bandages for his wounds. And then He applied to the half-dead man the oil of consolation and strength, and the stinging wine of correction and penance, or the oil of Baptism and Confirmation and the wine of the Holy Eucharist.

He then lifts the sinfulness of mankind upon His own beast, that is, His own flesh, and brought Him to the inn. Now, in Greek, the word for “inn” comes from two words that mean “receiving everyone.” The Church is the house that receives everyone who would enter. There in the inn, that is the Church, the Savior tended to man Himself before departing this world in His ascension. But He leaves to the caretaker of the Church, the Pope and the bishops in union with him, the two silver coins of the twofold precept of charity, love of God and neighbor. With these all are paid because the object of charity is God, Who is Himself the reward of all the saints. How can we give more than these two coins of love? By giving of ourselves as we love, and then our Savior will repay us when He returns to judge the living and the dead.

“Go and do likewise,” says Jesus at the end of the parable because now He acts in us, He acts through us, and we act by His power. We are to be moved by mercy when we see others wounded by their sins. And we offer them the oil of encouragement and the wine of correction. Then out of love we unite them to ourselves by taking their intentions to prayer in the Church, and we gladly pay the silver coins of charity. Thus will Christ reward us with His own hands when He comes again in glory.

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