Week 90 | Section 103
The second half of what we call the “Golden Rule” calls us to “Love your neighbor as yourself” so as we’ll see, the stewardship of others and being in community is not an option. Neither we nor others are defined by our circumstances or past experiences, but by the power of God at work in us and our choices in the sacrament of this present moment.1 As we are a most fickle ally it is most fortunate for us that our destiny is in the hands of our merciful kinsman redeemer.
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Section 103 | Story of the Good Samaritan
25 Behold, a certain lawyer2 stood up3 and tested him, saying, “Teacher,4 what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”5 28 He said to him, “You have answered correctly.6 Do this, and you will live.”7 29 But he, desiring to justify himself,8 asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”9 30 Jesus answered,10 “A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 By chance a certain priest was going down that way. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 In the same way a Levite also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan,11 as he traveled, came where he was. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion, 34 came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. He set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the host, and said to him, ‘Take care of him. Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return.’ 36 Now which of these three do you think seemed to be a neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “He who showed mercy12–13 on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do14 likewise.”15
- Why do you think the question as to how one can be certain of their future is so common?
- How are mercy and love similar and distinct?
- What is your experience in following the Golden Rule? What undermines your ability to go and do likewise?
- How have you learned to overcome your fears and and restrain reactive violence and self preservation in its various forms?
- Speak about the characteristic of integrity and ongoing role of mercy in our lives as you ponder this reading.
- What segregation do you see in your community (neighborhood, family, church, workplace, school, etc)? How then have you aimed to exercise the ministry of reconciliation and be an agent of mercy?
Whether you believe in evolution from sludge or creation both views recognize a universal connection and bond from the very origins of all that is. Love unites persons in communion. The notion of creation and Jesus’ redemption reconciles all humanity as a single family, so we must learn to treat one another as brothers and sisters, no less than neighbors, and extend love and mercy to both.
- This is a must read book, “The Sacrament of the Present moment” by Jean-Pierre de Caussade, a Jesuit priest (1675-1751).
- Though some versions render this pharisee, scribe, learned in the law or lawyer (but tnot the kind we think of today) the most helpful translation also reflected in the Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions is the word “scribe” (Strongs G3544). These men were who were responsible for interpreting the Old Testament Law and most specifically the Mosaic Law in the context of the current times.
- It is most likely that Jesus and his many disciples were now in some temple there in Judea as he was most recently in the region of Judea and in the next chronological section Jesus is in Bethany near Jerusalem. Its also more likely that the scribe was in the temple not on the road. As the story goes, its possible that they were in some smaller Judean town between Jerusalem the west River Jordan (20 miles as the crow flies) and still in the region Judea. As you can see on the Harmony Bible Map, the straight distance between Jerusalem and Jericho is roughly 40 miles but it would have been a much longer walk on foot as one would have to cross the river Jordan, navigate the mountains, rivulets and planes. Judea was the Southern most region of Israel in the time of Jesus. which spanned west of the Jordan and Dead Sea (including the Judean Desert). See Section 16 | Matt 2:22 Archelaus inherited 1/4 of his fathers Kingdom becoming ruler of Idumea, Judea, and Samaria.
- To call him a teacher is not the same as master or Lord. The text gives us no evidence that this scribe was a disciple, but a faithful and respected religious leader in the Jewish community.
- See also Dt 6.5, Lv 19.18,34; Mt 5:43-44; 1 Ths 5:15. Rightly quoting the scriptures the scribe effectively links one’s love of God (See: agape, agapao, agapetos) with our actions and attitudes for one’s neighbor. Jesus affirms that there is no more basic responsibility and then offers him a test for himself and those who would like to withhold love and mercy for those who are deserving.
- This question is reminiscent of the end of the Sermon on the mount in Section 54h (phase 5a) and is repeated later in Section 135 (Phase 5d) in the story of the scribe who came to Jesus to ask about the Greatest Commandments.
- See also Rom 10:5; Gal 3:21; Lev 18:5.
- See Gal 3:11
- In the scribes question (test) there is an implicit hope of a certain limit and permissiveness to this high standard – perhaps distance, relation, ethnicity, language, values, social class, etc. In fact, the Jewish religious leaders had interpreted the term “neighbor” as only mean a “fellow Israelite” or even “one in the same religious community” – but Jesus’ answer offers no such limit.
- As Augustine wrote ‘God is truly and absolutely simple.’ its evident in Jesus’ response that the absolute simplicity of God can be shown in many ways.
- The Samaritans were of the Northern Kingdom. After the Assyrians conquered the region they took most of the inhabitants into captivity. This remnant intermarried with the Gentiles (against the law). Given the newly created sociological and genetic divide the observant Jewish Samaritans worshiped on Mt. Gerizim (in Samaria) rather that in Jerusalem. This was condemned by the Jews in the the Southern Kingdom.
- “Etymologically, ‘mercy’ derives from misericordis, which means opening one’s heart to wretchedness. The greek word in Luke is ἔλεος “Eleos” which was a primary theme of both the Old and New Testament as Mercy is to “extend kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them” – Strong’s Number G1656.
- If you would like a contemporary movie to provide clips for use with youth or even adults who loved the Beach Boys, check out the film “Love and Mercy” which speaks to the sense of rejection, self worth, separation as well as the value and talent of every person.
- Not only is this requisite of every disciple and the pattern of making disciples, its also important to understand that God can not be divided by what He is and what He does. Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb 12:2).
- If you have time listen to this interview with Krista Tippett on “Becoming Wise”.