The Fearlessness of Love
A lawyer asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus responded with the question, “What does the Bible say about this?” As a knowledgeable lawyer, the man gave the correct answer, reciting the greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus commented Him for his correct answer. Now the lawyer was caught in his own words. He wanted to escape the consequences of his answer. Therefore, he asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” And answering him, Jesus taught us the heart-searching Parable of the Good Samaritan.
Jesus corrected the lawyer, telling him that God gave man his mind and intellect not to exploit other people, but rather to help them. The important question, Jesus told him, is not “Who is my neighbor? But “Who proved to be a neighbor?” Our search should not be about abstract ideas, but about the truth and its application in our everyday lives. What gives us life, eternal life, is to know and do the Holy Will of God.
The Priests and the Levites of the Old Testament knew the revealed Will of God. But they failed to do it for fearful and selfish reasons. They bypassed their fellow man in need. Only the Half-breed Jew, the Samaritan, showed compassion to the wounded person by the roadside. He did not allow fear or temporary losses or inconveniences to interfere with his spontaneous and compassionate response. His fellow man was in great need of his help. And the Good Samaritan stopped, gave him first aid, brought him to the nearest hospital, and he even paid for his treatment out of his own pocket. He also told the doctors to take care of him and provide him with what he needed, and he would personally return to pay the balance of the bill.
The Fathers of the Church identify the Good Samaritan with Christ, Who came to help and heal our physical and spiritual wounds. The “Inn” is His Church. And the “two denarii” are His revealed Truth and His Grace. Christ revealed His Truth in the Gospels and His Grace in the Holy Sacraments of the Church. In His Second Coming in Glory, He will reward us for our compassionate response and treatment of our fellowman.
Like a Good Samaritan, “Go and do likewise,” in love, compassion and have no fear.
With love, Fr. John P. Angelis