Scripture: Lectionary 461. Galatians 1:6-12. Psalm 111:1-2.7-8.9.10. Luke 10:25-37:
Paul asserts the priority of the Gospel revealed by God to him over all things. The Galatians are slipping away from the Gospel and discussing genealogies and other mythical matters. Paul is not pleased and even did not give them his usual encouragement and prayer in the opening lines which are not read in the liturgy! The Gospel is all he wants them to know and embrace. He has received it in a singular revelation from God. This does not take away from the instruction he had received from the other apostles especially Peter, James, and John. There is only on Gospel for them all and Paul knows this, but appreciates his being called as one born out of due time with the rest.
Jesus exemplifies this Gospel as a fulfillment of the law and love for God and for neighbor. There is no greater commandment than the one Jesus gives us from Deuteronomy. His is simply an extension of that marvelous revelatory gift from God. (See Deuteronomy 6:4-6). Our whole person is to be involved in the carrying out of these words about love. Mind, body, imagination, passions, and strength are to be used to foster love in this world so much in need of love.
Paul has lived out this knowing that it is of the essence of the Gospel that he preaches.
Jesus is practical in his way of teaching. He uses his metaphors and parables and stories to help those who listen or even question him. Today the great parable of the Good Samaritan is read and we always learn from it. It is so alive that I always imagined the Good Samaritan as a real person! Jesus himself shows us at the end of the Gospel for today the main point of the parable is compassion. After all, Luke has told us already that Jesus has said, “You must be compassionate as your Father in Heaven is compassionate.”
What is amazing is that Jesus was not well received by the Samaritans as he started on his journey toward Jerusalem. Nevertheless, he shows he has compassion for them and corrects the vengeance of the sons of thunder, James and John when they wish the Samaritans to be destroyed. Perhaps, we may be fortunate to have a situation where we may be truly compassionate today to someone. May we take the advantage of that grace as we continue to journey with Jesus on the Way toward Jerusalem. Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.