“Go and do likewise.”
What a wonderful instruction for Jesus to give us this morning. “Go and do likewise.” Jesus is telling us that those who hear the Gospel must also live it, or it is useless. Those who do not go out and do likewise are like the foolish Galatians in today’s first reading who seem to be abandoning the Gospel and replacing it with all kinds of other rules, including circumcision, that are mere appearances of holiness. Those of us who would call ourselves disciples of the Lord must do better than that. We must indeed “go and do likewise.”
We’ve all heard the story of the Good Samaritan umpteen times so it may all too easily go in one ear and out the other. But we really must hear what Jesus is saying in this parable if we are to get what living the Christian life is all about. As an aside, I must say it is extremely humbling to me personally that the priest in this story was not the good guy. The good person in the story is one that Jesus’ hearers would have expected to be anything but good: the very name “Samaritan” was synonymous with being bad. So for the Samaritan to come out as the good guy was something that made his hearers stand up and take notice. It might be somewhat akin to our saying “good terrorist” or something like that.
Yet it was this person, who was considered to be evil, that knew instinctively the right thing to do. He was the one who bound up the victim’s wounds and led him off to safety and healing. Compassion for others is part of the natural law, something that every person should possess, Christian or not, and for Christians it is certainly foundational to living the Gospel. Turning one’s back on those in need is reprehensible and any who do that are not hearing what the Gospel is teaching us.
The Gospel is not merely for our edification, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is for our instruction. Those of us who would dare to hear it must be willing to go and do likewise.