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Pope Francis reflects on Good Samaritan

April 27, 2016

Continuing his series of Wednesday catecheses on mercy, Pope Francis devoted his April 27 general audience to the parable of the Good Samaritan.

“Jesus had taught the great commandment of love for God and neighbor,” Pope Francis told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square, according to the official English-language synthesis of his remarks.

“In reply to the question ‘Who is my neighbor?’ [Jesus] recounts the story of the priest and the Levite who pass by a man in need at the side of the road,” the Pope continued. “Their religiosity is ultimately inauthentic, for it does not find expression in service to others.”

The Pope added:

Love, the Lord tells us, is never abstract or distant; it “sees” and it responds. The compassion shown by the Samaritan is an image of the infinite mercy of God, who always sees our needs and draws near to us in love. The command to love God and neighbor, then, is supremely practical; it entails caring for others even to the point of personal sacrifice.

By the end of the parable, we see that the “neighbor” is not so much the man in need, but rather the one who responded to that need with compassion. Jesus tells all of us to be neighbors in this sense: “Go and do likewise.” He himself is the model of the Good Samaritan; by imitating his love and compassion, we show ourselves truly to be his followers.

 
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