Our Lord is the Good Samaritan


Torch of The Faith News on Monday 13 August 2018 - 12:03:03 | by admin

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Due to the riches of our Catholic Faith, we can see Christ Crucified in the man beaten and left on the road to Jerusalem; and thus be led to see and love Him in our neighbour. At the same time, the Fathers of the Church taught us to see and love Him as the Good Samaritan, rescuing us and tending to our wounds. If we take this to heart, it can be a very consoling and even life-changing teaching.

More Words of Encouragement for Battle-Weary Catholics

I know that I have done this a couple of times before over the years, and I realise that other disturbing news has emerged from here in England this weekend, but I think it first of all worth repeating something important as a follow-up to yesterday's words of encouragement for battered Catholics.

In the Holy Gospel of St. Luke, Chapter 10, from yesterday's Traditional Latin Mass for the 12th Sunday after Pentecost, the classical account of the Good Samaritan was featured.

But a certain Samaritan being on his journey, came near him, and seeing him, was moved with compassion.

Oftentimes, this Gospel is presented in preaching as an exhortation to Christians to reach out and help those that we find broken along the highways and byways of life. We are thus called to recognise and serve Christ in others; something so well expressed in the above-featured painting. In helping others, motivated by love of God, we can thus minister to Christ in and through them.

And, right enough, this is one of the fundamental meanings contained in this rich text from Sacred Scripture.

However, in an age which has become so dominated by a kind of Neo-Pelagian self-sufficiency, with all that this implies for individual effort and self-improvement, it would be a little dangerous to stop with just this reading.

Not least because this particular text has much to offer in terms of consolation and encouragement to battle-weary Catholic souls everywhere.

Writers as varied as St. Ambrose of Milan, St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Clement of Alexandria, St. Ireneaus of Lyons, St. John Chrysostom and St. Bede of Lindisfarne were able to draw forth deep allegorical interpretations from this text, which were so rich that they still have much to offer to Catholics facing the daily struggles of the Church in the 21st-Century.
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By way of example, here follows St. Bede's marvellous presentation of such an allegorical reading.

The man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho is Adam, representing the human race. Jerusalem is the city of Heavenly peace, of that happiness from which he has been separated by sin. The robbers are the devil and his (fallen) angels, into whose hands Adam fell, because he went down. They stripped him and robbed him of the glory of immortality and the robe of innocence. The injuries they inflicted on him are sins which, violating the integrity of human nature, let death in through half open wounds. They left him half dead, because they deprived him of the blessedness of eternal life, although they could not abolish in him the faculty of reason by which he knew God.

The priest and the Levite who saw the wounded man and passed by denote the priests and ministers of the Old Testament, who could only show up the wounds of the sick world by the decrees of the law, but could not cure them because, as the Apostle says, it was impossible for them to wash away sin with the blood of calves and lambs.

The Good Samaritan (the word meaning ''Guardian'') is Our Lord Himself. Having become man, He is brought close to us by the great compassion He has shown towards us.

The inn is the Church into which Our Lord Himself brings man, as the Good Samaritan brought in the wounded man on his beast, for no one can take part in the Church unless he is baptised, united to the Body of Christ, and carried like the lost sheep on the shoulders of the Good Shepherd.
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The two pence are the two Testaments, bearing the name and image of the Eternal King. Christ is the fulfillment of the Law. The two coins were given the next day to the innkeeper, because on the morrow of His Resurrection, Our Lord opened the eyes of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and of His Apostles, that they might understand the Holy Scriptures. For on that day, the innkeeper received the two pence as a reward for his care of the wounded man, because the Holy Ghost descending on the Church, taught the Apostles all truth, that they in their turn, might be able to teach all nations and preach the Gospel.

Something which this allegorical interpretation by St. Bede does not mention, but which is found in the reflections of other great exegetical writers, is the symbolisation of the binding up of the wounds, and the treatment with the oil and the wine in the Gospel narrative, as being indicative of the Sacraments of Holy Church.

Also, the Good Samaritan's promise to return and repay the inn-keeper points to the Glorious Second Coming of Our Lord, when the final just judgement shall take place.

Restorative Application in Silent Prayer

Several years ago, I led a catechetical study day in the British Midlands for parish catechists who were being formed to hand on the faith in an orthodox manner.

During the last session in the afternoon, I read through the text of St. Luke's presentation of the story of the Good Samaritan.

Then I explained the allegorical meanings found in the writings of the Fathers and Saints of the Church.

Having shared these interpretations, I then invited the participants to prayerfully reflect and apply those deeper meanings, as I re-read the text more slowly through for them.

It can be a very important and powerful moment in one's spiritual life to hear and receive these understandings about Our Lord, the Church and ourselves.

In periods of silent prayer, it can be very fruitful and consoling to read this Gospel account and insert ourselves into the story, wherein: Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Good Samaritan; Jerusalem is the Heavenly Glory; the thieves are the devil and his demonic minions; the inn is the Church; you and I are the battered and wounded man lying on the road to Jericho; our wounds have been inflicted by the demons, by our own sins and by the sins of others; the binding of wounds and the provision of oil and wine are the Sacraments, which heal us of our spiritual, emotional and even physical wounds.

In this way, we can recognise Jesus as the One Who comes to us, even though we are undeserving, wounded and, in a certain sense, powerless to save ourselves. Notwithstanding any of this, He takes the initiative, comes to us with compassion and love, intervenes and takes personal care of us and our convalescence in the security of His Holy Catholic Church.

It is there, as the interpretation of St. Augustine teaches, that we must remain and make a precarious convalescence, until He calls us to the eternal peace of our eternal home.

In the revelations of the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary, Our Blessed Lord told her that our suffering endears us to His Heart. How wonderfully consoling this is, especially in light of this rich and deep understanding of the story of the Good Samaritan.

Given all that is happening in the Church these days, we can rest assured that, if those responsible for looking after us in the Church - including the one who sits as pope, the cardinals, bishops and priests - have not been faithful, but have instead been treating us in the manner of the unfaithful servant in Matthew 24:45-51, who treated his Master's delay in returning as an opportunity for partying, getting drunk and beating the other servants, then they will have to answer to Our Lord Himself at His Second Coming.

Or, if they die before that without first repenting, at their own personal judgement.

In the meantime, it is essential that none of us tries to discharge ourselves from the inn which Christ has given us, and brought us safely into, nor to try and find other ways to heal or nourish ourselves.

Only Jesus Christ can save us, heal us, feed us, protect us and get us home to Heaven. This is because He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life. And only the Catholic Church, the one which He Himself founded and sustains by the power of the Holy Ghost, can provide us with the salvation, sanctification and security which we need to get us through this passing world to the eternal joy, love and peace of Heaven with the Most Holy Trinity, Our Lady and all the saints.

Silent meditation on this Gospel narrative can help faithful Catholics in these testing times for the Church. It can also be a spur to going outwards and helping others to enter into that Church, through evangelization to the many broken souls who are beaten and lost out there on the lonely road to Jericho.
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But a certain Samaritan being on his journey, came near to him, and seeing him, was moved with compassion.

It is my sincere prayer that this reflection may bring you peace, joy and hope today and into the future.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Good Samaritan - Have Mercy on us, save us and heal us! Amen.


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