The Gospel Today
Monday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law?
How do you read it?”
He said in reply,
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.”
He replied to him, “You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live.”
But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?”
“A man fell victim to robbers
as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road,
but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place,
and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him
was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim,
poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.
Then he lifted him up on his own animal,
took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins
and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,
‘Take care of him.
If you spend more than what I have given you,
I shall repay you on my way back.’
Which of these three, in your opinion,
was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Reflection (Sem. Ramon C. Jamora Jr.)
Why do people avoid helping those in need, especially those going through acts of cruelty? There are two significant behaviors which came out from a study with regards to this. They are the “by-standers” and the “pathetic” – although there could still be other reasons from other studies depending on the circumstance.
The by-standers are the ones who have directly witnessed a cruelty but do not do anything to help, not because they do not want to but because someone may have already called for help. On the other hand, the pathetic are also direct witnesses but they don’t have the intention or desire to help because it is not their business. They would rather not be involved.
In the Gospel, there seems to be no difference in the priest and a Levite’s response to a robbery victim. They did not take the responsibility to help the person in need.
I feel that the Gospel does not limit us to extreme situations for us to be a neighbor to others. Just like the by-standers and the pathetic, we are called to examine our reasons that hinder us from being available and responsible for others. Being a neighbor to others requires us to move out of ourselves, our comforts.
To be a neighbor is simply to be responsible for and to be involved with others. Responsibility is doing something for the other what we can do within our bounds. Being involved means feeling the other. It simply calls us to listen and be present.
The Gospel simply reminds us to be in a relationship. We are invited to be with others. Literally, “neighbor” means “to be near to or next to.”
Let this day be a blessing for you and for your neighbor. Perhaps you can do something for another or listen to someone. Jesus tells you to “Go and do likewise!”