Among the most well-known parables of Jesus is the story of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37). In answer to the question, “Who is my neighbor?”, Jesus tells the story of a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho who is attacked, robbed and left for dead. After two prominent fellow-Jews (a priest and a Levite) see the man and pass him by (probably out of fear of becoming ritually impure), a Samaritan, a non-Jew, stops to help. The Samaritan, who would probably be considered an enemy or a rival to a Jew, shows compassion by bandaging his wounds, lifting the man onto his own animal, bringing him to an inn and personally tending to him. When the Samaritan leaves the inn to continue his journey, he gives money to the inn-keeper to pay for the victim’s continued care.
From this story, the phrase “Good Samaritan” has entered our language as a description of anyone who selflessly comes to the aid of a person in need. There are even “Good Samaritan” laws which protect such individuals from being sued for any harm a helper might unintentionally cause while offering aid.
Using the imagery of this story, the question is: why is there so much passion about and attention given to the very rich young man who is leaving town with his entourage? In light of “The Decision,” why has so much time, energy, commentary, newsprint, talk, focus and emotion been paid to someone who is leaving, with all his riches and power intact? [Read more…]