Monday, 5 October 2009

Who is my neighbour? . . .

In the Gospel of today's Mass Our Lord teaches us who our neighbour is, and how we should live in charity towards others. This parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the most beautiful and moving in the Gospels.

Some of the Fathers of the Church have identified Christ as the Good Samaritan. St Augustin commenting on this parable identifies the man who falls into the hands of robbers as a symbol of humanity wounded as it is by original sin, and indeed personal sin.

St Bede commenting on the same parable writes that Sins are called 'wounds' because they destroy the integrity of human nature. The robbers or thieves represent the devil, our own unrestrained desires, and so on.

The Levite and priest symbolise the Old Covenant, which cannot 'cure' these wounds. The inn symbolises the Church.

From today's Gospel Jesus teaches us that our neighbour is whoever happens to be near us, regardless of race, colour, creed or political view.

We should do what we can to alleviate our neighbour's suffering.

Lord, help us never to fail you in our neighbour.

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