Sunday, April 3, 2011

What is a Samaritan?

And behold a certain lawyer stood up, tempting him, and saying, Master, what must I do to possess eternal life?  But he said to him: What is written in the law? how readest thou?
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.  And he said to him: Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he willing to justify himself, said to Jesus: And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering, said:

So there’s this gay bar on the way into a big town.  It’s a popular spot for wild-eyed crazies to lounge in the shadows and prey on the hated sinners as they come out of the bar.  One night, there is a man lying beaten and unconscious on the curb in front of the bar. 

Jerry Falwell is being driven into town for a conference, sees the scene, and demands that the driver turn around. “Find another way into town; what will people think if they find out I was in this part of town where the gay bars are?” 

Rick Warren drives his own fancy rental car past the bar but doesn’t even see the man in the street because his mind is occupied with his upcoming launch of the new reality series “After the Sermon with the Purpose-Driven Preacher.”

Along comes a wealthy Pakistani Muslim with strongly rumored but unconfirmed ties to Al Qaida.  He tells his cab driver to stop.  He gathers up the unconscious man and directs the cabbie to the nearby Sisters of Mercy Hospital, where the hospital determines that the man has no identification and thus no insurance.  The Muslim slaps his Visa card down on the counter, “Insurance is no problem.  I will pay his charges.  Make sure he has a private room and the best of care.”

Which of these three, in thy opinion, was neighbour to him that fell among the robbers?  But he said: He that shewed mercy to him. And Jesus said to him: Go, and do thou in like manner. (Luke 10:25-37)


  1. Who among us cannot think of multiple occasions when we were Jerry or Rick? Different names, different places; but I've been both. "Lord, make me uncomfortable enough that I cry for your mercy more often, and, as a result, become the Samaritan more regularly." Since there's really no such thing.

  2. Yes, the line between good and evil runs right through each and every one of us, all the time. "We have met the enemy and he is us."

    "Traces of nobility, gentleness and courage persist in all people, do what we will to stamp out the trend. So, too, do those characteristics which are ugly. It is just unfortunate that in the clumsy hands of a cartoonist all traits become ridiculous, leading to a certain amount of self-conscious expostulation and the desire to join battle.

    There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blast on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us."

    Walt Kelly 1953

  3. Bravo! Excellent modern translation, my dear! Love it!