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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Good Samaritan - a "bit" Deeper

Just a reminder - Here is what a Bible tidbit is.

A Bible tidbit is a brief lesson from the Scriptures that draw us a little deeper into the Bible. If you are not excited about the Scriptures, hopefully a Bible tidbit will get you excited about them. They are things that have gotten me excited about the Scriptures.

My first Bible tidbit came when I was in a dialogue about the scriptures with a Southern Baptist girl. I was 19 and she was asking me all sorts of hard questions from the Bible and I couldn’t tell the difference between a chapter and verse.

I went to my Godfather for help and he gave me some historical philosophical response to give to her. I said, "Look, I think I need to answer her from the Bible." He said, that her whole foundation was based on scripture alone, but the Bible teaches that the pillar and foundation of truth is the Church.

1 Timothy 3:15 But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.

I read that verse once, Matt, and it was as if my entire life had been lived in darkness and someone had turned on a light. I could then see two things. One, that the faith of the Church was alive, and that my own faith really began to live.

Here is the actual tidbit for today.


This is a great one that can be shared with Catholic and non-Catholic alike. It is the parable of the good Samaritan.

Luke 10:30-35 , "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.'

In case someone doesn’t know, who are the Samaritans?

Back in 1040 B.C., King Saul had united all 12 tribes of Israel under his kingship. But in 930 B.C., the country split into two parts. The North was called Israel and the South was called Judah.

The capitol of the north was Samaria. In 722 B.C. the Assyrians came and removed most of the population of Israel and put in its place five pagan peoples. These people integrated their religions with the teachings of Moses, defiling true worship.

When it comes down to it they were half pagan, half Jewish. So the Jews didn't like them very much. They were in effect outcast by the Jews.

Why, though, do the priest and the Levite both pass up the man that was beaten?

One reason could be that they figured that he was already dead. If he was already dead, then touching him would have made them ritually unclean. Meaning, they would have to go through some cleaning rituals before they could go worship at the Temple.

Holiness in the Old Testament meant staying both spiritually and physically pure. These men chose to stay physically pure, but not spiritually pure because they denied their duty of loving their neighbor.

The Samaritan, who might not be as bound to the purity laws, does the right thing and helps the man.

So with that in mind, what else is there to notice about the story?

The Allegorical interpretation of this story is beautiful.
The man that gets attacked is Adam, who is leaving Jerusalem (city of God) and going to Jericho (city of the enemies of God). One his journey he is attacked by the devil.

The priesthood before Moses cannot help him. The priesthood instituted by Moses (Levitical priesthood) is also unable to help him.

Only Jesus, who is the Good Samaritan (the outcast), is able to help him.

Jesus pours on the sacraments of healing, oil representing the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and wine representing the Holy Eucharist.

Jesus then takes him to the Inn, which is the Church and tells the Innkeeper, Peter (keys to all the rooms), to take care of him until Christ returns in the second coming.

This tidbit is great because it is easy to see the second interpretation and you get to evangelize a little bit. So I hope folks out there share this with someone.

2 comments:

George Shook said...

Woah. Very nice.

I assume this interpretation has been around for a while?

Daniel Egan said...

at least to St. Augustine if not further.

- Pass it on.