Jesus is asked a question in the Gospel this Sunday. We are told that the person who asked the question did so to try and ‘disconcert him but Jesus knew what was happening and replied in a good ‘Irish’ way, by asking a couple of questions! “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” The lawyer replies, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself”. “You have answered right,” says Jesus. The lawyer pushes it though by asking “and who is my neighbour?” The response to that is the parable of the Good Samaritan.
Jesus uses parables to teach the people who gather around him. This is one that virtually everyone has heard. Another in that position is the Prodigal Son. They are a couple of parables where, when it comes to preaching, it can be difficult to be ‘different’. In the comparison of the three men who come across the man who had been attacked Jesus immediately makes a major point to those who are gathered in his presence. It is a Samaritan who stops and helps — there was no love between Samaritans and Judaeans or Galileans. It wouldn’t have been expected. When Jesus finishes, he asks who proved to be a neighbour to the man who fell into the brigand’s hands? The reply is quite straightforward — the one who helped, the Samaritan.
The lesson for us is to try to do the same — love our neighbour, help those who need our help.