The Good Samaritan

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From Pathwork Online by Paulo Peixoto and translated by Gustavo Monteiro

My favorite parable is that of the Good Samaritan.

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up and asked Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” Jesus replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.

 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’”

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

The richness of this parable could lead to discussions that would take pages and pages, but I want to address here, concisely, just one question: in our daily life, who is our neighbor, as meant in the parable of the Good Samaritan? The answer is simple: our neighbor is the one who needs us, at any given time.

For example, a parent who devotes most of his or her free time to some relief work, failing to give due consideration to his or her own child, does not realize who his or her neighbor really is. Similarly, a father or a mother, giving due attention to their son or daughter in a time reserved to be together, but failing to help someone who is really in greater need of their help at the time, does not realize who their neighbor really is.

This is a complex issue, because for every situation there are plenty of variations. No written set of rules, no matter how extensive it may be, would be enough to identify who should receive our attention, our help and our care, in every situation; and yet, all we have to do is follow a very simple rule: ask our deeper self, where we are one with God, who our neighbor is. The problem is that there are so many self-created layers of negativities and illusions involving our divine core that we may not hear its voice, or even choose not to hear it, because it would mean giving up something that we do not want to lose – perhaps some personal comfort or glory. But if we make an effort, we can not only hear that voice, but also follow its guidance. The main effort is the ongoing search for truth, starting with ourselves.

I do not know how I would have acted on that route from Jerusalem to Jericho, but I know that many times in my life I went by on the other side of someone who needed me. It is not pleasant to recognize it, but it’s liberating because no significant change for the good can happen away from the truth.

Paulo Peixoto
PWOL Collaborator

Translated into English by
Gustavo Monteiro

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