15th Sun C
Christian conversion is promoted by conversation. This section is a response to and a development on the knowledge gained from the commentary section.
This Sunday's Exposition
Law can be a dangerous thing. In theory, its intention is to facilitate good behaviour yet, in reality, it is often used to justify the most abhorrent. In this Sunday’s Gospel, the Law is mentioned for the first time in Luke’s Gospel since the Infancy narratives. There Jesus, the revelation of God in human flesh, was shown to fulfil the Law. Here, in the attitude of the lawyer, we see a mentality that debased the law into an instrument of attack. The lawyer knew the answers to his questions. Probably that second question was the real thrust of his attack- where is Jesus going to draw the line between people. Who is neighbour and who is not? People readily fight over that. If you doubt that, start up a discussion in a public place over the refugee issue.
Jesus turns the whole issue around. While the lawyer’s question was to narrow the group of people to whom one should show care, Jesus’ parable and subsequent question, ‘Who proved himself neighbour?’ shifts the emphasis to ask, ‘what type of heart do you have?’ The Samaritan, a heretic in terms of the Law, showed basic human compassion, while the priest and Levite, both experts of the Law, walked callously by an obviously abused and injured man. No explanation is given for their behaviour. If common compassion is lacking in a person, Law, even the best of law will only be used to justify abhorrent behaviour.