Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity
What if the parable of the Samaritan and the traveler isn’t as complicated as it is made out to be?
It’s a simple story, really. It tells a moral tale. A certain man was traveling to Jericho. Along the road, some thieves stripped him of his clothing, beat him senseless, and left him for dead, naked, alone, and broke. Two of Jerusalem’s religious elite pass by him. Neither of them helped him, but did their best to avoid the man by walking around him on the other side of the road. It wasn’t until a Samaritan came along—a half-breed lowlife, according to the Jews—that the man finally received some help.
This certain Samaritan bandaged the man’s wounds, salving him with wine and oil. Then, placing him on his own animal, he takes the man to an inn, pays for his room and board, and sees to it that the innkeeper takes care of him, promising to repay him any extra expenses upon his return. It was certainly a good thing that the Samaritan had done, but you’ll notice that nowhere in the parable does Jesus call him good, as has become part of common parlance—the Good Samaritan.
But that is the moral of the story—what the Samaritan did. If you want to be good—and be saved—then, “Go and do likewise,” as Jesus said.