Sunday, July 11, 2010

Homily for the 15th Sunday of the Year

Go and do the same (Luke 10:37)

Here’s the odd and interesting thing about what must be the most famous parable - perhaps even the most famous story - in the whole of Scripture.
I think when we hear the story we understand that Jesus is saying to us we should help everyone, even those we might not be disposed to like. Samaritans and Jews are, well, like Black and White, Catholics and Protestants, Israeli and Palestinian - all the Montagues and Capulets of the world. So, this parable says just the same as “Love your enemy”.
But it says a lot more. Remember, Jesus is speaking to a Jewish audience. So what does he tell them to do? To help others, even Samaritans?
Look again. He says to the Jews - “Go and do as he did”. He doesn’t tell them to help Samaritans - he tells them to imagine themselves as Samaritans.
And its the only way.
Helping those in need is good. But it can be self-serving, patronising. We feel good because we have helped those less fortunate than ourselves.
No, Jesus says. Don’t just help them. Be them. Put yourselves in their place. Imagine yourselves in their situation. See things with their eyes.
If not, however kind we are, it will always be US and THEM.

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