ΜΑΘΗΜΑΤΑ ΚΑΤΩΤΕΡΟΥ ΚΑΤΗΧΗΤΙΚΟΥ
Ἀπό τήν σειρά "Μαθαίνω γιά τόν Θεό", τόμ. Β΄
Ὁ Θεός στήν Καινή Διαθήκη
(Ἐκδόσεις "Χριστιανική Ἐλπίς" Ὀρθόδοξη Ἀδελφότητα)
The parable of the Good Samaritan
Have you ever heard of climbers? Climbers love to climb high mountains and conquering the highest of them! It must be very tiring to climb these mountains, however, the view they can enjoy at the top of them is very rewarding!
Maybe some of you are dreaming to become climbers when you grow up. You can, though, climb on the highest mountain and reach the top of it NOW! You‘ll have to work a lot on it and surely it won’t be easy, but the joy you‘ll feel in the end, can be priceless!
Can you guess what is this high mountain and the peak of it, that we ’re talking about?
And what is the path we need to follow, so we can climb this mountain? We ‘ll be able to find it out today, by listening to the parable of the Good Samaritan that Jesus told us.
A man was travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho. There was only one way connecting these two towns. The distance between them was quite long. And the road was not always busy, as it was quite rough and dangerous to walk on. Sometimes, bandits preferred to hide there and ambush the passengers. This man had the bad luck to get ambushed while walking. He tried to resist the robbers, but they beat him up very hard and left him half–dead along the road!
The poor man was in such pain! He suffered so much and was so upset for what the robbers had done to him. And at that very moment, he felt so hopeless, that almost gave up on his life. He thought “I ‘ll probably die here, all alone in this desert!”.
It was not long after that a priest came along. He was probably going home after the service he had in Jerusalem. He soon realised there was a wounded man on the ground. What would we expect him to do in such a case? To stop and help the robbed man, right? However, he went to the other side of the road so to avoid him and quickly went on his journey.
Soon, a second person, a Levite (a priest’s assistant and Temple worker) came by. He came nearer, saw the injured man and thought “He must have been ambushed… That means I am in danger to be attacked by the robbers, too!”. So, the Levite kept on going without helping the man.
The pain became greater for the injured man. Not only he was hurting in his body, but also his heart was broken by the bad behaviour of the first two passengers. They just left him there to die. He lost all his hopes. He was sure no more people would pass by the road. And probably even if they did, they would not care for him enough to stop and save him. He thought “I’ll die here alone”.
A third man appeared walking on the road. He was a Samaritan. Jewish people did not really like people from Samaria. To the point that they refused to even talk to them! But when the Samaritan saw the injured man, he felt very sorry for the beat-up Jewish man! Love moved him towards the man and immediately decided to help him! He selflessly tried to aid the injured man with the oil and wine he was carrying with him. He took care of his wounds, treating them with oil to soften the pain and with wine to disinfect them (as they used to do back then). The Samaritan ripped his clothes to make bandages to cover the wounds. And after that, he lifted the man and sat him on his own animal, and he walked beside them. Soon they arrived at a small inn. The Samaritan stayed up all night looking after the wounded man. The next day before leaving, he paid the innkeeper in advance with two denarii enough for some more days. He asked from him to make sure that the injured man will be taken care of. “I’ll be back after a couple of days to pay you, should the man need something extra.”
The characteristics of true love
Such a moving story! Isn’t it? We can find the attributes of true and pure love in the Good Samaritan’s behaviour. Genuine love can lift us to heaven. It is like a staircase we can climb and reach the sky! There are five steps to take. Count them in your five fingers and make sure you learn them by heart:
a) Love towards everyone. The Samaritan showed love to the Jew, even if he was an enemy to him. Love is not selective. And we need to learn to love all the people the same!
b) Love through actions. The Samaritan didn’t only think about helping the injured man, but he put his thinking into practise. He didn’t just say to him “Bless you! You need help!”, but he took good care of him. He tried to minimize his pain and then carried him to an inn. He even paid more the innkeeper to specially look after him. We show love through our actions. It’s not just words. Being nice to someone, running an errand for someone or visiting somebody when they’re ill, surely are actions of love. (We ask the children to suggest ideas of love actions). So, love is helping my classmates with their homework, visiting someone when they’re in hospital or maybe they’re just lonely at home. Love is lending stuff to people they need them, helping our parents with the chores. Love is to be happy with the others’ success. There are so many ways to show our love!
c) Selfless love. Did the Samaritan ask for something back when he helped the Jew? Of course not! He was expecting nothing. When we do something out of love, we shouldn’t expect anything in return. Selfless love doesn’t work like that!
d) Secret love. Did the Samaritan help the injured man, so other people would see this and admire him? No. He hid well the good deed he did. This means that whatever good we may do to someone should stay secret, between us and them. All our good deeds are recorded in the book of our life. God sees and knows about them and that’s more than enough. He will award us.
e) Love with sacrifices. If we think of love being a staircase, the very last step and at the top of it, is sacrifice! What sacrifices the Good Samaritan did? He sacrificed his time, his money… He even put his life in danger! Loving one’s neighbor was risky and economically costly in this story. What about us? You think we can sacrifice something for others? Our time, some of our playtime, some of our pocket money maybe? When we are willing to give something that is ours or share it, people can feel our kindness. Would you, like to show our love to others? (Charity actions suggestions, i.e., visit to a hospital or a charity home, contributing into a petty cash, collecting food for a poor family. It would be an extraordinary experience for the children to try participating in any of those good deeds).
Love is a ladder that can lead us to heaven! Also, heaven can come down to us through it! If we show our love to other people with our actions, selflessly and in secret, then we create a small Heaven on earth! We make people around us happy and that subsequently creates happiness in our souls, too!