Homily – 15th Sunday Ordinary Time (Msgr. LoPinto)

Today’s gospel is unique.

Unique in the sense that you only find this particular story in Luke.

It does not appear in the other synoptic gospels, nor does it appear in John.

And so you ask, well, why would Luke put this story in?

What was he aiming at? Well, many scholars would tell us that the best way to understand the Gospel of Luke is to look at the Magnificat, the prayer of Mary when she goes to visit her cousin, Elizabeth. And in that prayer, as Mary offers praise to God for the blessings that she has received, he makes part of the prayer, an understanding of what God is in the process of doing.

And basically the phrase that the scholars point out in that prayer is the phrase that says, “and he raises up the lonely and puts down the powerful”, in the sense God’s effort is to, in a sense, turn things around, reconcile, make things one again.

In keeping with the order and the design of God, Luke is very clear that that is the intent of what he has composed in his gospel.

And it is the intent because Luke is very much about the time in which we live in light of the paschal mystery.

He uses over and over again the phrase “the new creation”.

God has through the actions of Jesus.

God has to begin the process of building the Kingdom of God, the new creation.

And so Luke takes that and uses it as part of the context for his gospel presentation.

And one of the things that is very clear when you look at Luke’s gospel is that Jesus is about teaching.

Our teaching. The nature of God.

And so when you look at this particular parable, it seems like a rather simple story that Jesus is telling in response to this young individual who is testing him.

And one would say, “Well, it’s a simple story”, but it isn’t simple at all.

It is a very complex parable because in a sense, what Jesus is doing in using the parable is teaching about God.

You have this victim. This victim who has been robbed, beaten and left to die.

You have the human race. The human race. Very often. Is beaten. Is robbed in many different ways. Abused in many different ways.

And abandoned. Who will come to the aid – who will come to the aid of this victim, the human race.

Jesus in point is God’s welcome.

But God will not come in the expected way.

God will come in the unexpected way. And that’s why he says the ones you would expect to be mirroring God, the priests, the Levite. They passed on the opposite side. But the Samaritan. The foreigner, the one who is considered literally alien. One who is to be avoided.

Remember the history. The Samaritans were a people who had, in a sense, walked away from God as God was known in Israel.

They had gone on a different route. And because of that, they were hated and despised.

You remember the story of the Samaritan woman who meets Jesus, meets her at a well.

And they’re all the disciples are amazed when they come back.

Why is he talking? Why is he engaging with a Samaritan?

That’s forbidden. That’s verboten. But yet Luke goes out of his way in telling this story.

We creating this story from Jesus’s mouth. And it’s the Samaritan.

The Samaritan who stops. A Samaritan who offers aid and support.

Samaritan who literally gives of himself.

By interrupting his journey and taking from his resources in order to aid this victim.

Think of it. Who gives of himself.

God gives of himself by sharing with us Jesus, his very Son. And why does he do that?

Because he looks with compassion and is filled with mercy for us.

And so God reaches out. To who? This fallen human race. And seeks. Lift it up. But the story doesn’t end there. Because again, the point of the story is to show how God is recreating the reality in which we live.

And so he takes the individual, this broken person. It takes him to an inn. And he entrusts him to the care of the innkeeper. And in effect, he gives the innkeeper. Resources to cover the cost. Of that care. And tells him that if it’s going to cost any more. He will pay him on his way back.

But what has he done? He changed the nature of the inn and the innkeeper.

He’s turned the innkeeper into a caregiver.

And he’s turned the in. Into a hospice, into a care facility.

Because it wasn’t enough. They just take this individual.

And have him act. In a decent and new main way.

The work of God. It’s recreation.

The work of God is to change the realities with which we live.

To restructure the institutions that we control.

And he ends with a simple phrase. After he says to the individual, he questioned the individual who was the one who acted with compassion.

And the individual. Again, you see how he hasn’t yet broken out of the stereotype.

He will not say it was a Samaritan. He merely says it was the individual who showed compassion.

How hard it is to break. How hard it is to break.

The human culture and the human condition.

How hard it is for us. To think with God’s head, with God’s eyes, and to speak with God’s mouth.

But that’s what Jesus says. Go and do likewise.

I have brought you into my life. That you may be new.

And that you may go forth. Doing not your work, not human work. But you may go forth.

Doing God’s work. I just pray that is we share God’s word and the gift of God’s life in the Eucharist,

that that nourishment will help us to grow into the oneness that we share with God.

So they didn’t affect what Moses told the people early on in Deuteronomy.

“His law is written in your heart and on your mind”. His law is written on your heart and on your mind.

And so you act. Out of God in all that you say and do.

And when you see. You see with God’s eyes.

And you’re moved with compassion. For those who are suffering.