Many years ago, I was on a bus tour from Jerusalem to Jericho. The road was full of twists and turns as it went from 2,300 feet above sea level in Jerusalem to 1,300 feet below sea level in Jericho. The road was narrow with a barren landscape, rocky hills, and mounds, and a good hunting place for robbers. St. Jerome in the 4th century called it the Bloody Way, and as late as the early 1930s, people were warned to get home before dark, because a certain Abu Jildah was good at stopping cars and robbing travelers. So you can imagine how dangerous it was in Jesus’ time and so could our Lord’s audience.
With all that in mind and the possibility that the man might be dead or a decoy, you could see how the priest and Levite passed by without helping. That the hero turned out to be a Samaritan — must have been quite a shock to the Jews who were great enemies of the Samaritans and vice versa. Remember, two weeks ago we heard how a Samaritan village would not welcome Jesus? (Luke 9:53) Of course, the point of the parable means that we have to help anyone in need, be they mortal enemy or life long friend, because that’s who our neighbor is.
- Fr. Carl
“We love God, truly in so far as, when finding ourselves
with people who differ from us, we behave graciously to
them, speak charitably of them, are willing to meet them
again, and to do them a kindness.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars