This is Good Samaritan Sunday, a parable usually taken as the way the Faithful ought to treat others, but here taken as the way God treats the Faithful.  God himself is the Good Samaritan towards the wounded Faithful, in need of healing.  The presence of the Almighty is close by, ever ready to heal.


Deuteronomy is about the Faithful having the word of God in their own mouths,[1] without paying much attention to what they are saying.  The message from Deuteronomy is to pay attention, even to how God binds up the wounds of the Faithful in healing service.  The parable of the Good Samaritan not only lays an obligation upon the Faithful, but also frees the Faithful to claim the mercy of God.


Psalm 69 makes the transition from the Faithful as obligated, to the Faithful as free.  Psalm 69 looks to God much as the traveling man may have looked to the Good Samaritan.  Without asking permission from the traveling man, the parable simply assumes the need to assist.  In modern circumstances, the American Red Cross recommends asking if one may assist, when the person to receive assistance is capable of responding.  As the Good Samaritan, God is present everywhere, healing, bringing the Faithful back to himself at his own expense without always being asked.


Colossians is an ancient Christian hymn,[2] praising God in the Christ.  Christ Jesus not only receives attention from the Father as the Good Samaritan; Christ Jesus also shows the Faithful how to obtain the same attention.  Such wonderment is the cause of Christian rejoicing, seen in the hearts and souls of the Faithful, if only one looks with the care of the Deuteronomist.  If one looks with care to Luke, Luke does not identify Jesus with God, as do the Faithful.


The Gospel is about the Good Samaritan, beset upon by a brigand.  While there may not have been too many brigands at the time of Jesus, after Herod died, the Romans crucified some 2000 in a Roman effort to eliminate brigandage.[3]  The Good Thief was also a brigand.  The very complicated issue concerns those to whom God extends his love, namely everyone, the good and bad alike.[4]  Loving everyone is the Christian life, made possible through grace.  Actively loving enemies distinguishes Christianity from other religions.  God even loves the Faithful when they become faithless.


A God who loves his human enemies may also be unique to Christianity.  It is not that the Christian God will not accept human sacrifice; in the person of Jesus, he does; in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, he does; in the sacrificial love of the Faithful for their enemies, he does.  Ultimately, in accepting the love of the Faithful, God extends his own love to the Faithful, without asking, even as the Good Samaritan.


Deuteronomy 30:10-14


Psalm 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 37

The Lectionary uses this Psalm at two Sunday liturgies, today and the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A.


Readings      Page in         Verses used



  94A             651               8-10, 14, 17,             33-35                     (14c)             Ordinary 12

105C             705                         14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36, 37          (cf. 33)           Today


Verse 30

Lectionary (1998):                        I am afflicted and in pain

The Vulgate (circa 410):               Ego autem sum pauper ET dolens

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        But I am poor and sorrowful (Psalm 68)

King James (1611):                      But I am poor and sorrowful (verse 29)

Jerusalem (1966):                        For myself, wounded wretch that I am (verse 29)

New American (1970):                 But I am afflicted and in pain

New Jerusalem (1985):                For myself, wounded wretch that I am (verse 29)


I was looking for the Franciscan sense of poor.


Verse 31

Lectionary (1998):                        and I will glorify him with thanksgiving.

The Vulgate (circa 410):               et magnificabo eum in laude.

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        and I will magnify him with praise (Psalm 68)

King James (1611):                      and will magnify him with thanksgiving (verse 30)

Jerusalem (1966):                        I will extol him with my thanksgiving (verse 30)

New American (1970):                 and glorify it with song

New Jerusalem (1985):                I will extol him by thanksgiving (verse 30)


I wondered about the difference between praise and thanksgiving.  The translations seem to identify the two.


Verse 33

Lectionary (1998):                        may your hearts revive!

The Vulgate (circa 410):               et vivet cor vestrum

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        and your soul shall life (Psalm 68)

King James (1611):                      and your heart shall live (verse 32)

Jerusalem (1966):                        long life to your hearts (verse 32)

New American (1970):                 take heart

New Jerusalem (1985):                Let your courage revive (verse 32)


The difference between revive and live comes out in the various translations.


The liturgy for today does not use verse 27.  That notwithstanding, some exegetes still take verse 27 about the one whom you pierced as referring to Jesus.  Such an interpretation does not withstand much scholarly rigor.  Even so, the idea of extreme physical suffering is present.[5]  God the Father, as Good Samaritan, saving Jesus, also saves the Faithful.


Colossians 1:15-20

Verse 16

Lectionary (1998):                        For in him were created all things

The Vulgate (circa 410):               quia in ipso condita sunt universa

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        For in him were all things created

King James (1611):                      For by him were all things created

Jerusalem (1966):                        for in him were created all things

New American (1970):                 For in him were created all things

New Jerusalem (1985):                for in him were created all things


I wanted to see if condita meant anything but created.  Evidently not.


Cf. John 6:63c, 68c


Luke 10:25-37

Verse 25, with all your heart: heart in the tradition of the Hebrews, meant the intellect and will rather than the emotions.[6]


Verse 33, Samaritan is the relevant ethnic name for persons, used here and in two other places.  Luke 9:52 was used without further comment June 27, 2004, the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The Samaritans would not welcome Jesus because he was headed for Jerusalem.  Luke 17:16, the other place, will be used for the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, October 10.  There the Samaritan leper was the only one to return.[7]


Verse 35 silver coins, denarios in the Latin, means small silver coins in the Greek.


The readings for today present God as the Good Shepherd toward the Faithful.  God begins by placing his law in the hearts and minds and mouths of the Faithful, even when the Faithful do not understand.  The psalm portrays the traveling man in need of help from God.  The epistle is an exuberant hymn of praise from the early Christians for the kindness of the Good Samaritan.  The Gospel tells the parable of the Good Samaritan, not only with a view to how the Faithful are to treat their neighbors, but also, at a deeper level, with a view to how God treats the Faithful.



For more on sources and their availability, besides the footnotes, see the Appendix file.


[1] William L. Holladay, “Had Ezekiel Known Jeremiah Personally?" the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 63, No. 1 (January 2001) 32.


[2] Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, O.P., “Tradition and Redaction in 1 Cor 15:3-7," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 1 (1981) 588.


[3] P. M. Casey, “Culture and Historicity: The Cleansing of the Temple," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 59, No. 2 (April 1997) 319.


[4] Barbara E. Reid, O.P., “Violent Endings in Matthew’s Parables and Christian Nonviolence, the" Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 2 (April 2004) 246.


[5] Michael L. Barré, S.S., “Textual and Rhetorical-critical Observations on the Last Servant Song (Isaiah 52:13—53:12)," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 1 (January 2000), 14.


[6] Max Zerwick, S.J. and Mary Grosvenor, A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament unabridged, 5th, revised edition (Roma: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico 1996) 220.


[7] Dennis Hamm, S.J., “What the Samaritan Leper Sees: The Narrative Christology of Luke 17:11-19,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 56, No. 2 (April 1994) 281.