Saturday, 9 August 2014

St Luke 10:25-37

Today the Good Samaritan:

25 Et ecce quidam legisperitus surrexit tentans illum, et dicens: Magister, quid faciendo vitam æternam possidebo? 26 At ille dixit ad eum: In lege quid scriptum est? quomodo legis? 27 Ille respondens dixit: Diliges Dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo, et ex tota anima tua, et ex omnibus virtutibus tuis, et ex omni mente tua: et proximum tuum sicut teipsum. 28 Dixitque illi: Recte respondisti: hoc fac, et vives. 29 Ille autem volens justificare seipsum, dixit ad Jesum: Et quis est meus proximus? 30 Suscipiens autem Jesus, dixit: Homo quidam descendebat ab Jerusalem in Jericho, et incidit in latrones, qui etiam despoliaverunt eum: et plagis impositis abierunt semivivo relicto. 31 Accidit autem ut sacerdos quidam descenderet eadem via: et viso illo præterivit. 32 Similiter et Levita, cum esset secus locum, et videret eum, pertransiit. 33 Samaritanus autem quidam iter faciens, venit secus eum: et videns eum, misericordia motus est. 34 Et appropians alligavit vulnera ejus, infundens oleum et vinum: et imponens illum in jumentum suum, duxit in stabulum, et curam ejus egit. 35 Et altera die protulit duos denarios, et dedit stabulario, et ait: Curam illius habe: et quodcumque supererogaveris, ego cum rediero reddam tibi. 36 Quis horum trium videtur tibi proximus fuisse illi, qui incidit in latrones? 37 At ille dixit: Qui fecit misericordiam in illum. Et ait illi Jesus: Vade, et tu fac similiter.

[25] And behold a certain lawyer stood up, tempting him, and saying, Master, what must I do to possess eternal life?[26] But he said to him: What is written in the law? how readest thou? [27] 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. [28] And he said to him: Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. [29] But he willing to justify himself, said to Jesus: And who is my neighbour? [30] 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.[31] And it chanced, that a certain priest went down the same way: and seeing him, passed by. [32] In like manner also a Levite, when he was near the place and saw him, passed by. [33] But a certain Samaritan being on his journey, came near him; and seeing him, was moved with compassion. [34] 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. [35] 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.[36] Which of these three, in thy opinion, was neighbour to him that fell among the robbers? [37] But he said: He that shewed mercy to him. And Jesus said to him: Go, and do thou in like manner. 

Commentary (de Lapide)

Ver. 29.—But he, willing to justify himself. To justify himself, i.e. to show himself to be more just than others. “Show me any one who comes nigh me in righteousness, who is as just and upright as I am. Such an one you will scarcely find.” So Titus, Euthymius, and Isidore of Pelusium, who think that the lawyer spoke with the pride and arrogance of a Pharisee.

“He thought,” says Isidore, “that the neighbour of a righteous man must be righteous, and the neighbour of an exalted man one of high degree. Show me some one so great as to be worthy to be compared with me.”

But the answer of Christ proved the contrary, as is clear from a consideration of the passage. For when this lawyer heard Christ commend the answer he had given, his purpose changed, and his aversion turned into love and reverence for the Lord. Hence he earnestly asked, Who is my neighbour? that by loving him he might fulfil the law.

Hence, “willing to justify himself,” means that he wished to show his love for that which was right, that he was anxious out of an awakened conscience to understand and learn the law of God, in order that he might fulfil its precepts. Toletus, Jansenius, and others.
And who is my neighbour? There was much questioning amongst the scribes concerning this, and much error. For because it is written, Lev. xix. 18, “Thou shalt love thy friend” (רע rea), they inferred the contrary, “thou shalt hate thy enemy,” i.e., the Gentile, every one not a Jew: an error which Christ corrected, S. Matt. v. 43.

Hence the scribes thought that the Jew alone, as a worshipper of the one true God, and, of the same religion and race, could be a friend, or a neighbour, and even of their countrymen only those who were faithful in their observance of the law, were to be loved or to be held in honour.

Well, therefore, might this lawyer ask, Who is my neighbour? I love all my countrymen who walk uprightly, and regard them as my neighbours, but are there others whom I ought to love? Christ answers that all men are our neighbours, because they partake of the same life, the same grace, the same salvation through Christ, the same sacraments, the same vocation and calling and are journeying with us to the same eternity of happiness.

Every man, therefore, is our “rea,” our friend and our fellow; or in the Greek πλησίος, near to us, from πελαζω or πλάω, I draw nigh, which is more forcibly rendered in Latin by “proximus,” because we are “proximi” next or nearest to each other in a direct sense by virtue of the life we live in common with them, and the blessings which we enjoy.

But by proximus Cicero and the Latins understood vicinissimus, i.e. neighbour in the strictest sense. Hence Isidore (lib. x. etymol.). We call him the nearest to us, who is next of kin; and Cicero (lib. II De legibus), “Whatever is best, that we must look upon as next or nigh unto God.” But now all men are our neighbours by creation, and by their redemption and calling in Christ.

Figuratively. The word “neighbour” is suggestive of the tenderest affection and love, such as that of brother for brother, or of a son for his father, for no one comes between them, inasmuch as there is no higher relationship; yet there are degrees of this love, for we must love our father more than our brother, and our brother more than any more distant relation, for amongst our nearest of kin one is nearer to us than another, and therefore more to be loved...

Ver. 37.—And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. Hereby we understand, says S. Augustine, “that he is our neighbour to whomsoever we must show compassion, if he need it, and would have shown it if he had needed it.” Hence it follows that even he who must in turn show us this duty is our neighbour. For the name of neighbour relates to something else, nor can any one be a neighbour except to a neighbour.

Hence it is clear that to no one, not even to our enemy, is mercy to be denied. And S. Augustine very appositely adds, “What more remote than God from men? For God possesses two perfections, righteousness and immortality. But man two evils, sin and death. God was made man, and so like unto us, yet not like us, for He was without sin, and by bearing the punishment, but not the guilt of sin, He abolished both the guilt and the punishment.”

Isidore of Pelusium assigns the cause. Relationship is reckoned according to nature, not virtue; in essence, not by worth; by compassion, not by place; by the manner of treatment, not by neighbourhood. For we must account him as a neighbour who is most in need of our aid, and be willing at once to render him help.

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