Weekly Missionary Reflection
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 10 July 2022
Deu. 30:10-14; Ps. 69:14,17,30-31,33-34,36ab,37 or Ps. 19:8,9,10,11; Col. 1:15-20; Luk. 10:25-37
The good Samaritan: everybody knows this story. The expert of the Law asked what he should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus replied: ‘what is written in the Law and how do you read it?’ Jesus knew that He was dealing with someone who took religion very seriously: a member of a group that knew and read the bible a lot! The scholar’s answer was precise: love the Lord and neighbor. A correct answer with convincing words. Is this the benchmark for piety and a religious person? Of course not! Hence, Jesus emphasized: do this! The commandment to love could not be just a word or formula that is frequently read and memorized. To love is a verb: it must be done and performed in real life.
The scholar who read and memorized the commandment, asked again: who is my neighbor? He could have loved his fellow Jews. That was the meaning of “neighbor” in the Law (Lev. 19:18). This narrow concept of neighbor frequently excluded the other Jews, like the tax collectors, sinners, poor, etc. This primordial concept of “neighbor” must be reviewed. Jesus reviewed it not by copying the Law nor making a theory of “neighbor”. He explained how to be a neighbor through a story. A surprise came: the Samaritan was picked up as the model. The priest and Levite, the top two castes in the Jewish piety, failed to keep the love commandment. Both of them just saw and passed by the victim (v. 31-32). Why? Because they just obeyed the word of Law. They idolized what they memorized and read about the rule of clean and unclean. The victim might look like a dead body, which was the source of impurity. He could be naked too, which means he had no identity. He could be a stranger who was also impure. This was not good for the priest and Levites who wanted to keep themselves clean.
The Samaritans also had and read the Law of Moses. So they knew the rule of clean and unclean. However, he not only saw but also had compassion. This gave him the courage to break the word of Law. He did not want to be imprisoned by his identity and class. The man in suffering, no matter who he is, is the neighbor we should help. His love-action is described detailedly: he approached, poured oil, bandaged his wound, lifted him up on his animal, took him and cared for him, and also paid the inn. There are so many actions given to the victim. The biggest part of this story is focused on the concrete actions of the victim. Jesus’ message is clear: to love is a verb, love is a practice, to anybody who is suffering!
This story has a clear setting (between Jerusalem and Jericho), but no setting of the time. Luke seems to make this story without a time limit. Unconditional love shown by the Samaritan has to be applied constantly. The practice of love should always exist without a time limit. We will never retire nor pause in loving the neighbors, as the commandment of Jesus at the end of this story will always bother us: Go and do likewise! (v. 37).
(Hortensius Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society)
DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER
Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy, and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit animating Jesus, also be my guidance and strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.
Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus, and the Church, in particular, I present my prayer for our Pope and apostle prayer of Indonesian Church this month:
For Universal Churches: Respecting the legacy of the elderly
We pray for the elderly; unto them, we can revive the living root and valuable legacy; may their experience and wisdom be able to assist the youth to face their future with full hope and responsibility.
For Indonesian Churches’ intention: For the anxiety of the youth
May the Church pay special attention to the youth who are depressed, anxious, losing hope and direction for their future due to the impact of this pandemic.