"A Man Went Down From Jerusalem to Jericho" (Lk10:30)
Among the most powerful, personal, pastoral and practical parables that Jesus taught is that parable of the Good Samaritan. It is a parable that is powerful, for it speaks of the power of love that transcends all creeds and cultures and "creates" a neighbour out of a complete stranger. It is a parable that is personal, for it describes with profound simplicity the blossoming of a human relationship that has a personal touch even physically, transcending social and cultural taboos, as one person binds the wounds of another. It is a parable that is a pastoral, for it is replete with the mystery of care and concern that is at the heart of the best in human culture, as the Good Samaritan reaches out and ministers to his new--found neighbour who is in dire need of help. It is a parable that is primarily practical, for it poses a challenge urging us to cross all barriers of culture and community and to go and do likewise!
Whenever we read and reflect on this parable of the Good Samaritan, we are moved by the depth of its simplicity. It speaks to our heart. It can even trouble our conscience. It is a parable that proves convincingly "that the word of God is something alive and active: it cuts more incisively than any two-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12). And similar sentiments stirred within me as I listened to the Hippocratic Oath.
Even though the Oath and the Parable stand centuries apart, there is a bond that links them together for they both express and share a common concern: a commitment to, I would like to state, "the gospel of life"; a commitment that stems from a profound respect and concern for the human person. "Every individual, precisely by reason of the mystery of the Word of God who was made flesh (cf. Jn 1:14), is entrusted to the maternal care of the Church. Therefore every threat to human dignity and life must necessary be felt in the Church's very heart; it cannot but affect her at the core of her faith in the Redemptive Incarnation of the Son of God, and engage her in her mission of proclaiming the Gospel of life in all the world and to every creature (cf. Mk 16:15)." I now propose to offer a prayerful but practical meditation on the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
The man, we are told, was on his way from Jerusalem to Jericho. Jerusalem was the holy city where the Temple was located, where God had chosen to make His dwelling place. It was thus a symbol of the divine and the sacred. In contrast, in Scripture we often find Jericho standing for the world. As Origen put it, "...the man on his way from Jerusalem to Jericho falling among thieves, represents Adam driven from paradise into the exile of this world. And when Jesus went to Jericho and restored the sight of the blind men, they represented all those who in this world suffer from the blindness of ignorance, to whom the Son of God comes."  Jericho is in a sense a symbol of secular culture. And that man who was on his way from Jerusalem to Jericho represents the whole of humanity, as a matter of fact all of us. Like him, are we not too on a journey? For are we not all pilgrims travelling together? Somewhere along the path, we are waylaid and robbed, deprived and stripped of what is best in us, the spark of the divine and the sacred! Religion, which expresses our relationship with God, like the sacred, is at the very heart of culture. And yet as Pope Paul VI has noted: "The split between the Gospel and culture is without doubt the drama of our time, just as it was of other times."  What is our response as Church, to this body of humanity that lies wounded and waylaid? Do we not need to tend it and restore it to its pristine health and glory? I propose to approach this great story from three angles. It is a parable that calls for Compassion, challenges us to Commitment and ends with the joy of Communion.