XV Ordinary Sunday

Go and do the same 

Lk 10:25-37

How do I know what God wants from me?  Deuteronomy's answer is clear: you don't have to climb the Himalayas or cross the Atlantic to know what God wants from us. What God wants from the Israelite is written "in the code of this law," which is limited to chapters 12-26 of Deuteronomy. It is not a question of studying much but of becoming with all the heart and all the soul, and of putting into practice what is said there.


The text of the Dt was untouchable, and no one was authorized to remove or add anything, so the interpretation of its rules grew uncontrollably. In Jesus' time, Judaism counted 613 commandments (365 prohibitions and 248 precepts) capable of driving anyone crazy.


Faced with this accumulation of commandments, it is logical that the desire arose to synthesize, or to know what was most important. In the Gospels there are various attempts to simplify the question with a short and drastic answer. The most famous is the Golden Rule, with which the Gospel of Matthew closes the Sermon on the Mount: "Treat others as you want them to treat you. This is what the law and the prophets consist of" (Mt 7:12). The theme reappears in today's episode, when Jesus is asked what the main commandment is. 


The protagonist of Luke's story does not come with good intentions, he intends to put Jesus in a bind; and it does not raise a theoretical question ("what is the main commandment?") but a very personal one: "What do I have to do to inherit eternal life?"


Jesus does not fall into the trap. Instead of answering, he asks, "What is written in the Law? What do you read in it?" And the legist is forced to recognize that he knows perfectly well what he must do: love God and neighbor. Jesus, with a certain irony, tells her that her problem is not to know what she has to do, but to do it, and to do it well and with joy. 


Here it could have all ended. But the legist, who has the feeling of having been ridiculed, to justify himself raises a philosophical-theological question: "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus limits himself to telling the parable of the Good Samaritan, who offers two models of conduct: that of the priest and the Levite, who before the poor man assaulted and badly wounded by the bandits take a detour and pass by, and that of the Samaritan who feels pity, approaches, pours oil and wine on the wounds,  he sells them, rides him on his horse, takes him to an inn, takes care of him and pays for his stay. There are seven actions, all based on the initial feeling of pity.


The legist might find it offensive to be told a story. But Jesus does not give him time to protest, he goes directly to the attack, forcing him to recognize that the important thing is to behave like a neighbor. To finish, saying: "Go, do the same." The important thing is not to discuss but to act.

Today there is the risk of making a theory of Christianity, getting into many schemes and requirements, the proposal of Jesus is clear. Serve.  In the light of the Word of God, let us prepare ourselves to build the Church that Christ wants, a Samaritan Church, committed to social causes, a missionary and evangelizing Church.  Amen 

+Faustino Armendáriz Jiménez

Archbishop of Durango

OMCC Ecclesiastical Advisor