Fish Eaters: The Whys and Hows of Traditional Catholicism

Matthew 13:9 "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."

The Good Samaritan 1


Luke 10:23-37

And turning to his disciples, he said: Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see. For I say to you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them; and to hear the things that you hear, and have not heard them.

And behold a certain lawyer stood up, tempting him, and saying, Master, what must I do to possess eternal life?

But he said to him: What is written in the law? how readest thou?

He answering, said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind: and thy neighbour as thyself.

And he said to him: Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

But he willing to justify himself, said to Jesus: And who is my neighbour?

And Jesus answering, said: A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, who also stripped him, and having wounded him went away, leaving him half dead. And it chanced, that a certain priest went down the same way: and seeing him, passed by. In like manner also a Levite, when he was near the place and saw him, passed by. But a certain Samaritan being on his journey, came near him; and seeing him, was moved with compassion. And going up to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine: and setting him upon his own beast, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two pence, and gave to the host, and said: Take care of him; and whatsoever thou shalt spend over and above, I, at my return, will repay thee. Which of these three, in thy opinion, was neighbour to him that fell among the robbers?

But he said: He that shewed mercy to him.

And Jesus said to him: Go, and do thou in like manner.

from the Catholic Encyclopedia

The good samaritan is certainly authentic; it can be explained mystically in detail, and is therefore as much an "allegory" as a parable. If it was spoken by our Lord so was the wicked husbandmen. It does not exactly reply to the question "Who is thy neighbour?" but propounds and answers a larger one, "Whom in distress should I like to be neighbour to me?" and gives an everlasting instance of the golden rule. At the same time it breaks down the fences of legalism, triumphs over national hatreds, and lifts the despised Samaritan to a place of honour.

In the deeper sense we discern that Christ is the Good Samaritan, human nature the man fallen among robbers, i.e., under Satan's yoke; neither law nor Prophets can help; and the Saviour alone bears the charge of healing our spiritual wounds. The inn is Christ's Church; the oil and wine are His sacraments. He will come again and will make all good. The Fathers, Sts. Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, are agreed in this general interpretation. Mere philanthropy will not satisfy the Gospel idea; we must add, "the charity of Christ presseth us" (II Corinthians 5:14).

1 Samaria (modern-day Sabastiyah on the West Bank) was built as the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in the early 9th cent. B.C. and came to be seen by the Jews as a place of total iniquity after the time of Achab (Ahab) and his wife, the evil Jezabel (Jezebel), who introduced the worship of Phoenician gods and goddesses into the Kingdom, and slew true Prophets of God. Samaria fell in 721 B.C. when Assyria expanded, was destroyed in 120 B.C., and was rebuilt by Herod the Great, who called it Sebaste in honor of Emperor Augustus, whose name in Greek was "Sebastos."

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