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
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."