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"Lectio divina is an authentic source of Christian spirituality recommended by our Rule. We therefore practice it every day, so that we may develop a deep and genuine love for it, and so that we may grow in the surpassing knowledge of Christ. In this way we shall put into practice the Apostle Paul’s commandment, which is mentioned in our Rule: “Let the sword of the spirit, the Word of God, live abundantly in your mouth and in your hearts; and whatever you must do, do it in the name of the Lord.”

 Carmelite Constitutions (No. 82)

Lectio: 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Lectio Divina: 
Sunday, July 11, 2010

The parable of the Good Samaritan
Who is my neighbour?
Luke 10:25-37

1. LECTIO

a) Opening prayer:

Prayers of Blessed Giorgio Preca in Il Sacrario dello spirito di Cristo

Lord God, you are present and I am in you: 
          Give me wisdom to know your spirit.
Lord God, you are present and I am in you: 
          Grant me the gift of the spirit of the Master, my Christ Jesus.
Lord God, you are present and I am in you: 
          Guide my every way with your light.
Lord God, you are present and I am in you:
          Teach me to do your will at all times.
Lord God, you are present and I am in you: 
          Do not let me stray from your Spirit, the Spirit of love.
Lord God, you are present and I am in you: 
          Do not abandon me when my strength fails.

b) Gospel reading:

Luke 10:25-3725 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (Picture) 26 He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?" 27 And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself." 28 And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live."
29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbour?" 30 Jesus replied, "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. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, 34 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. 35 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.' 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbour to the man who fell among the robbers?" 37 He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."

c) Prayerful silent time:

that the Word of God may enter into our hearts and enlighten our life.

2. MEDITATIO

a) A key to the reading:

This is chapter 10 of Luke’s Gospel. It is the central part of Luke’s Gospel and it follows Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem: «Now as the time drew near for him to be taken up to heaven, he resolutely took the road for Jerusalem» (Lk 9: 51). We know that for Luke, Jerusalem is the city where salvation will take place, and Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem forms a central theme. Luke’s story begins in the holy city (Lk 1: 5) and ends in the same city (Lk 24: 52). In this middle section, Luke will repeatedly insist on the fact that Jesus is going towards Jerusalem (for instance in Lk 13: 22; 17: 11). In this text, which tells the parable of the good Samaritan in the context of a discussion with a doctor of the law concerning the greatest commandment, we again find the theme of a journey, this time from Jerusalem to Jericho (Lk 10: 30). The parable is part of this middle section of the Gospel that begins with Jesus, a pilgrim together with his disciples on their way to Jerusalem. He sends them ahead to prepare for him to stop at a Samaritan village and there they only find hostility precisely because they were on their way to Jerusalem (Lk 9: 51-53). The Samaritans avoided pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem and were hostile to them. “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him, in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself was to visit” (Lk 10: 1). Seventy-two is the traditional number of pagan nations.

The Fathers of the Church (Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome and others), keeping in mind all the symbolism associated with Jerusalem, the holy city of salvation, interpret this parable in a particular way. In the man who goes from Jerusalem to Jericho they see Adam who represents the whole human race expelled from Eden, the celestial paradise, because of sin. The Fathers of the Church see the thieves as the tempter who takes us away from God’s friendship with his wiles and who holds us slaves in our humanity wounded by sin. In the priest and the Levite they see the insufficiency of the old law for our salvation that will be accomplished by our Good Samaritan, Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, who, leaving the celestial Jerusalem, comes to the aid of our sinful condition and heals us with the oil of grace and the wine of the Spirit. In the inn, the Fathers see and image of the Church and in the inn-keeper they see the pastors into whose hands Jesus entrusts the care of his people, The departure of the Samaritan from the inn is seen by the Fathers as the resurrection and ascension of Jesus to sit at the right hand of the Father, but who promises to come back to reward each person according to his or her merit. Jesus then leaves the two denarii to the Church for our salvation, the two denarii that are the Sacred Scriptures and the Sacraments that help us on our way to holiness.

This allegorical and mystical interpretation of the text helps us to accept well the message of this parable. The text of the parable begins with a dialogue between a doctor of the law who stands to put the Lord to the test by asking: «Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?» (Lk 10: 25). Jesus replies with another question: «What is written in the law? What do you read there?» (Lk 10: 26). We must see this dialogue as a confrontation between two masters, a thing quite common in those days as a system of clarifying and deepening points of law. The polemical tone prevailing here is different from that in Mark where the question is asked by a Scribe who «had listened to them debating (Jesus and the Sadducees), and had observed how well Jesus had answered them» (Mk 12: 28) then puts the question to Jesus. This Scribe is well disposed to listen to Jesus, so much so that Jesus ends the dialogue with: «You are not far from the kingdom of God» (Mk 12: 34). Matthew, however, places this question in the context of a debate between Jesus and the Sadducees with the Pharisees present who when they “heard that he had silenced the Sadducees they got together and, to disconcert him, one of them put a question…” (Mt 22:34-35). Jesus gives an immediate reply quoting the commandment of love as found in Deuteronomy and Leviticus.

Only in Luke’s text is the question not about which is the greatest commandment but about how to inherit eternal life, a question dealt with again in the Synoptic Gospels on the lips of the rich young man (Mt 19: 16; Mk 10: 17; Lk 18: 18). As in Mark, so also here, Jesus praises the doctor of the law: «You have answered right… do this and life is yours» (Lk 1:, 28). But the doctor of the law was not yet satisfied with Jesus’ answer and wanting «to justify himself» (Lk 10: 28) for having asked the question asks again “and who is my neighbour”! This second question introduces and connects the following parable with the dialogue between Jesus and the doctor of the law. We also notice an inclusion between verse 26 that ends the debate and leads us to the tale of the parable in verse 37, which ends definitively the dialogue and the parable. In this verse, Jesus repeats to the doctor of the law that he had defined the neighbour as one who was compassionate: «Go and do the same yourself». This phrase of Jesus reminds us of the words at the last supper as recorded in John, when, after the washing of the feet, Jesus invites his disciples to follow his example (Jn 13: 12-15). At the last supper, Jesus bequeaths to his disciples the commandment of love understood as willingness “to give one’s life” in love for each other as the Lord has loved us (Jn 15: 12-14).

This commandment goes beyond the observance of the law. The priest and the Levite have kept the law by not approaching the poor wounded man who is left half dead, so as not to defile themselves (Lev 21: 1). Jesus goes beyond the law and desires his disciples to do as he does. «By this love you have for one another, everyone will know that you are my disciples» (Jn 13: 35). For the disciple of Jesus mere philanthropy is not enough. The Christian is called to something more, which he or she accomplishes in imitation of the Master, as the Apostle Paul said: «We are those who have the mind of Christ» (1 Cor 2: 16) «Because the love of Christ overwhelms us when we reflect that one man has died for all» (2 Cor 5, 14).

b) Some questions to direct our meditation and practice:

* What touched you most in the parable?
* With whom in the story do you identify?
* Have you ever thought of Jesus as the Good Samaritan?
* Do you feel the need for salvation in your life?
* Can you say with the apostle Paul that you have the mind of Christ?
* What urges you to love your neighbour? Is it the need to love and be loved, or is it compassion and the love of Christ?
* Who is your neighbour?

3. ORATIO

Canticle - 1Pt 2, 21-24

21 Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin; no guile was found on his lips. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he trusted to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

4. CONTEMPLATIO

Contemplation is knowing how to adhere with one’s mind and heart to the Lord who by his Word transforms us into new beings who always do his will. “Knowing these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (Jn 13: 17)

 

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As Carmelites We live our life of allegiance to Jesus Christ and to serve Him faithfully with a pure heart and a clear conscience through a commitment to seek the face of the living God (the contemplative dimension of life), through prayer, through fraternity, and through service (diakonia). These three fundamental elements of the charism are not distinct and unrelated values, but closely interwoven. 

All of these we live under the protection, inspiration and guidance of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whom we honor as "our Mother and sister." 

 



date | by Dr. Radut