Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Mercy Towards the Neighbour

This then is eternal life, that they know you the only true God and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ (John 17, 3).

Well, we’re back. We thought that the Parable of the Good Samaritan would be a good continuation of the previous post so we decided to provide it in translation.

Some remarks: It should be clear from the above quotation from John that eternal life is none other than the communion in the Uncreated Church that we discussed in the previous post, the participation in the uncreated communion of the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity that we receive in seed in our baptism through our reception, by the mercy of our Lord, of the Holy Spirit, through the Cross.

Next, Luke insists that although Jesus’ interlocutor in the Parable is speaking well to Jesus, he does not have a pure heart: he is testing Jesus rather than approaching him in humility to learn (in this, compare Nicodemus in John 3).

A Levite would be similar to a monk.

Samaritans did not have dealings with Jews. For a Samaritan to help a Jew was unusual. Today, it might be the same, given people’s attitudes, if it were said that a Muslim was passing by and helped a Christian when the Christian priest and the Christian monk had passed the fellow Christian by.

Oil and wine, apart from any symbolic significance they might have had, were basic pharmaceuticals of the day. This was the proper way to bandage an open wound.

A denarius (pl: denarii) is said to have been a day’s wage for a labourer. Not a trivial amount.

Here is the parable:

And behold a certain teacher of the Law stood up testing him and asking: ‘Teacher, having done what will I inherit eternal life?’ He then said to him: ‘In the Law what has been written? How do you read?’ He then, having answered, said: ‘You will love the Lord your God from all of your heart and from all of your soul and from all of your strength and from all of your intellect; and your neighbour as yourself.’ He then said to him: ‘You have answered rightly. Do this and live.’ He then, wishing to justify himself, said to Jesus: ‘And who is my neighbour?’ Taking up the thread, Jesus then said: ‘A certain man was descending from Jerusalem to Jericho and robbers fell upon him. And, stripping him and laying wounds on him, they departed leaving him in a state near death. By coincidence, then, a certain priest was descending in that way and, seeing him, passed by on the other side. Likewise then also a Levite, happening on the place, coming up and looking passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan who was travelling came up to him and seeing him had compassion. And, approaching him, he bandaged his wounds, pouring out oil and wine. Then having mounted him on his own beast of burden, he led him to the lodging-place and took care of him. And the next day, departing, taking out two denarii he gave them to the innkeeper and said to him: “Take care of him and whatever you expend in addition I will repay you when I come back.” Which of these three seems to you to have become a neighbour to him you fell among the robbers?’ He said: ‘He who showed mercy to him.’ Jesus then said to him: ‘Go and do likewise.’ (Luke 10, 25 – 37.)


  1. Hi,
    I'be been browsing through the internet recently looking for Orthodox blogs and have come across your one. You have some really insightful commentary that I have enjoyed reading.

    One area I look to clarify with Orthodox sites that I come across is whic branch of the broader Orthodox church the author belongs to. I haven't yet come across any of your posts that mention this. I apologise if I'm asking about something that you don't feel a need to share but I was hoping to know whether you are part of a community that belongs to a SCOBA jurisdiction?

  2. We have replied to this comment at our post ‘Who is Orthodox Monk’,


    Orthodox Monk