April 26, 2020
Today’s culture has a good handle on what it takes to control animals and domesticate them. We tame the animals until they are predictable. Domestication isn’t a bad thing, but it becomes a problem when we “domesticate” the teachings of Jesus. One of Jesus’ most familiar teachings is the Parable of the Good Samaritan. It is also a good example of a “domesticated” teaching. Jesus’ told it among the Pharisees, and it would have been challenging, or even offensive. Jesus deliberately frames the parable using the Samaritan.
In Jesus’ day, Samaritans were despised by people living in Judea. So, who would be “offensive” if he told the parable today? Would they be somebody who sides with conservative or liberal politicians? Would they be somebody from a different religion? Would they be that homeless person sitting on a street corner? Would they be the person who breaks the current social distancing rules preventing the coronavirus from spreading? Jesus’ teachings challenge and remind us that the answer to the Parable of the Good Samaritan is about which person was a good neighbor.
We should be “good neighbors” to everyone, including the people we think we could never associate with.