Reflection from Fr. Taylor: July 10, 2016, 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reflection from Fr. Taylor: July 10, 2016, 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today’s Gospel offers us the familiar story of The Good Samaritan.  It is one of the most popular stories in the Bible, but it’s not easy to realize the implications.  At first the meaning of the parable seems clear.  If you see someone in need or in danger you should reach out to help that person.

You have to also look at the background.  The Samaritans were different from the Jewish people at the time.  The Samaritans and the Jewish people were not friends.  For many centuries there had been deep hatred between the two peoples.

We have the same kind of implications today in the Middle East and in other places in the world.  The lawyer in the story asks who is my neighbor.  But when we ask such a question we are also asking who is it that is not my neighbor?  Jesus explains exactly what it means to be a neighbor.  The Samaritan sees not a Jew but a fellow human being who desperately needs help.  He does what we all like to think we would have done in these circumstances.

The central message is this, in the sight of God, differences of race, nationality and sex have no importance before our common humanity.  We are all sons and daughters of God.  We are one great big family and equality deserving of respect and concern.  The Lord wants us to overcome a basic human instinct of being close only to those who are more like us.  When we become exclusive we eliminate so many of the wider community who are also part of the kingdom.

Maybe looking at this gospel today we can ask ourselves how we can deal with our own negative feelings we experience sometimes toward people who are different than us.  It is a real challenge even for those of us who call ourselves people of God.

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