Sunday Angelus Address by Pope Francis
Today the Gospel presents the famous parable of the “good Samaritan” (see Lk 10,25-37). Asked by a lawyer about what is necessary to inherit eternal life, Jesus invites him to find the answer in the Scriptures and says: “You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all the your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself “(v. 27). There were, however, different interpretations of who should be understood as “neighbor”. In fact that man still asks: “And who is my neighbor?” (V. 29). At this point, Jesus responds with the parable, this beautiful parable: I invite all of you to ponder the Gospel today, Gospel of Luke, chapter ten, verse 25. It is one of the most beautiful parables of the Gospel. And this parable has become paradigmatic of the Christian life. It has become the model of how a Christian must act, thanks to the evangelist Luke.
The protagonist of the short story is a Samaritan, who meets a man robbed and beaten by brigands along the way and takes care of him. We know that the Jews treated the Samaritans with contempt, considering them foreigners to the chosen people. It is therefore no coincidence that Jesus chose a Samaritan as a positive character in the parable. In this way he wants to overcome prejudice, showing that even a foreigner, even one who does not know the true God and does not attend his temple, is able to behave according to his will, feeling compassion for his needy brother and helping him by all means At your service.
On that same road, before the Samaritan, a priest and a Levite had already passed, that is, people dedicated to the worship of God. However, seeing the poor man on the ground, they continued without stopping, probably so as not to be contaminated with his blood. They had put a human rule before them – not contaminating themselves with blood – linked to the great commandment of God, which first of all wants mercy.
Jesus, therefore, proposes the Samaritan as a model, precisely one who had no faith! We also think of so many people we know, perhaps agnostic, who do good. Jesus chose as a model one who was not a man of faith. And this man, loving his brother as himself, shows that he loves God with all his heart and with all his strength – the God he did not know! -, and expresses at the same time true religiosity and full humanity.
After recounting this beautiful parable, Jesus turns back to the doctor of the law who had asked him “Who is my neighbor?” And he says to him: “Which of these do you think was close to the man who fell into his hands of the brigands? “(v. 36). In this way it reverses the question of its interlocutor, and also the logic of all of us. It makes us understand that it is not us, on the basis of our criteria, who can define who is neighbor and who is not, but it is the person in need who must be able to recognize who his neighbor is, that is, “The one who treated him with mercy” « who has had compassion for him” (V. 37). Being able to have compassion: this is the key. This is our key. If you do not feel pity before a needy person, if your heart is not moved, then something is wrong. Be careful, be careful. We do not let ourselves be carried away by selfish insensitivity. The capacity for compassion has become the touchstone of the Christian, indeed of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus himself is the compassion of the Father towards us. If you go down the street and see a homeless man lying there and pass by without looking at him or think: “But, effect of the wine. He’s a drunk, “asked not if the man is drunk, ask yourself if your heart has not stiffened, if your heart has not become ice. This conclusion indicates that mercy towards a human life in need is the true face of love. Lk 6.36). And God, our Father, is merciful, because he has compassion; he is capable of having this compassion, of approaching our pain, our sin, our vices, our miseries.
May the Virgin Mary help us to understand and above all to live more and more the unbreakable bond that exists between love for God our Father and concrete and generous love for our brothers, and give us the grace to have compassion and grow in compassion