OCTOBER 4. Ord Time B. Wk 27 Mon. Lk. 10. 25-37
There was a lawyer who, to disconcert Jesus, stood up and said to him, ‘Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? What do you read there?’ He replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.’ ‘You have answered right,’ said Jesus ‘do this and life is yours.’
But the man was anxious to justify himself and said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of brigands; they took all he had, beat him and then made off, leaving him half dead. Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite who came to the place saw him, and passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan traveller who came upon him was moved with compassion when he saw him. He went up and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. He then lifted him on to his own mount, carried him to the inn and looked after him. Next day, he took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said “and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have.” Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the brigands‘ hands?’ ‘The one who took pity on him’ he replied. Jesus said to him, ‘Go, and do the same yourself.’
Jesus died on a Cross for me! What has that got to do with the Parable of the Good Samaritan you might ask. Well, the link is, Jesus put my needs before his own! And this is the point of today’s parable. The question Jesus answered was not so much ‘who is my neighbour’, but rather “who will love the man in need?” Who would put his needs before their own; - in imitation of Jesus Christ; - motivated by Love?
Remember, the question at the start of today’s Gospel? “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” And the reply was “You must love God and your neighbour!” And so, the second part of the reading teaches us how to do this; - with Christ putting an injured, unknown person on the side of the road; - after being beaten by thieves.
The critical question then becomes, who will put this man’s interests ahead of his own? And Christ then told us a both a priest and a Levite 'crossed the road', rather than assist the injured man; - both of them professing to be followers of the Law of Moses!
And before we rush in and criticise them, we have to ask ourselves; - “Am I not often guilty of ‘crossing the road’ when it comes to providing for the needs of my neighbour”; - and doing so because of a firmly held view; - ‘this is not my responsibility!’
The Question asked by the lawyer today is the most important question anyone on earth can ask, namely; - “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” so we need to heed Christ’s very unambiguous answer; - you must love God and neighbour; - and you cannot separate them! If you cannot love your neighbour, you cannot love God!
Christ taught, we love God by loving our neighbour; - just as Christ bore witness to his love of the Father; - by loving us; - and dying on a Cross for us! “If any man has a mind to come my way, let him deny himself, take up his Cross; - and follow me!”
The Cross, and the needs of others, are the means by which we bear witness to Love of God!
Gospel Acclamation Jn13:34
I give you a new commandment:
love one another as I have loved you.
First reading Jonah 1:1-2:1,11 Jonah flees from his call
The word of the Lord was addressed to Jonah son of Amittai:
‘Up!’ he said ‘Go to Nineveh, the great city, and inform them that their wickedness has become known to me.’ Jonah decided to run away from the Lord, and to go to Tarshish. He went down to Joppa and found a ship bound for Tarshish; he paid his fare and went aboard, to go with them to Tarshish, to get away from the Lord. But the Lord unleashed a violent wind on the sea, and there was such a great storm at sea that the ship threatened to break up. The sailors took fright, and each of them called on his own god, and to lighten the ship they threw the cargo overboard. Jonah, however, had gone below and lain down in the hold and fallen fast asleep. The boatswain came upon him and said, ‘What do you mean by sleeping? Get up! Call on your god! Perhaps he will spare us a thought, and not leave us to die.’ Then they said to each other, ‘Come on, let us draw lots to find out who is responsible for bringing this evil on us.’ So they cast lots, and the lot fell to Jonah. Then they said to him, ‘Tell us, what is your business? Where do you come from? What is your country? What is your nationality?’ He replied, ‘I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.’ The sailors were seized with terror at this and said, ‘What have you done?’ They knew that he was trying to escape from the Lord, because he had told them so. They then said, ‘What are we to do with you, to make the sea grow calm for us?’ For the sea was growing rougher and rougher. He replied, ‘Take me and throw me into the sea, and then it will grow calm for you. For I can see it is my fault this violent storm has happened to you.’ The sailors rowed hard in an effort to reach the shore, but in vain, since the sea grew still rougher for them. They then called on the Lord and said, ‘O Lord, do not let us perish for taking this man’s life; do not hold us guilty of innocent blood; for you, the Lord, have acted as you have thought right.’ And taking hold of Jonah they threw him into the sea; and the sea grew calm again. At this the men were seized with dread of the Lord; they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.
The Lord had arranged that a great fish should be there to swallow Jonah; and Jonah remained in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. The Lord spoke to the fish, which then vomited Jonah on to the shore.
Jonah 'ran from' God rather than doing his will; - Also referred to as "crossing the road"?