(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday urged Christians to emulate the figure of the Good Samaritan and help those in need to get up, like Christ who “continues to pay” for us. Delivering a homily at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta residence in the Vatican, he reflected on the attitude of the various actors in the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke’s Gospel, which, he said, was an answer to the doctor of the Law on who his neighbour was.
Actors in the parable
Commenting on the robbers, the priest who is “a man of God”, and the Levite who is “close to the law”, all of whom passed by the wounded and half-dead man, the Pope said this is a very common habit among us. We see an ugly calamity and pass by and later read about it, painted with a bit of “scandal and sensation’, in the newspapers. Instead the Samaritan, a pagan and sinner “saw and did not pass by”, the Pope said, drawing attention to the words of Luke – “he had compassion.” Making the wounded man his neighbour, the Samaritan approached him, bandaged his wounds pouring in oil and wine. Neither did he leave him there and go his way. He carried him on his animal to the innkeeper, whom he paid to look after him and promised to pay the extra expenses on his return.
Mystery of Christ
“This,” the Pope said “is the mystery of Christ who became a servant, humbled and annihilated himself and died for us.” Jesus, the Pope said, is the Good Samaritan who invited the doctor of the law to do the same. The mystery of Jesus Christ is not a children’s tale, the Pope pointed out adding, the parable reveals the depth and breadth of the mystery of Jesus Christ. The doctor of the law did not understand the mystery of Christ but he surely understood the human principle behind it – that every man who looks from above at another man down below, does so only to help him get up. One who does this, the Pope stressed, is on the right path to Jesus.
Pope Francis said the innkeeper understood nothing of this, bewildered at meeting someone who did things he never heard before. This, the Pope said is what happens when one meets Jesus. The Holy Father urged Christians to re-read this parable and examine themselves on their attitude – a robber, a cheater, a corrupt man, a priest, a Catholic manager, or a sinner. “Do I approach and make myself a neighbour and servant to those in need like Jesus,” the Pope asked, concluding his homily.