St. Jerome on the Good Samaritan

Jerome on the Good Samaritan

The Gospel reading for this coming Sunday, July 14 is Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37.

Jerome, was a priest and theologian, born about 347 and died on Sept 30, 420.  He is best known for translating most of the Bible into Latin, know as the Vulgate translation.

Jerome wrote: Some think that their neighbor is their brother, family relative or their kinsman.  Our Lord teaches who our neighbor is in the Gospel parable of a certain man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho.  Everyone is our neighbor, and we should not harm anyone.  If, on the contrary, we understand our fellow human beings to be only our brother and relatives, is it then permissible to do evil to strangers?  God forbid such a belief!  We are neighbors, all people to all people, for we have one Father.

Twenty Times

Twenty Times

We usually don’t get too excited about the book of Leviticus and that I’m doing prep work for a sermon from Leviticus likely won’t induce you to jump over the moon nor run away with the spoon.  However, if you are intrigued by what may result by Sunday, I invite you to show up at 10:00 at St. Paul’s, New Melle, Mo.  St. Paul’s is just north of the Catholic church on County D.

In chapters 18-19, the statement “I am the Lord your God.” Or a variation of that is repeated at least 20 times.  The reason we should not live as the rest of the world lives is because “I am Yahweh your Elohim.”  Therefore, don’t uncover the nakedness of your parents or any women or practice any other sexual aberration.

“You shall be holy for I Yahweh am holy (Kadesh).” (19:2) Am I supposed to act like God just because he’s God?  Well, yes.  Here’s the Gospel reason.  “I am Yahweh your Elohim who brought you out of the land of Egypt.”  For us the good news which tops even that is when Jesus, Yahweh become one of us, delivered us from slavery to not wanting to do what God wants us to do.  The Red Sea event cost pharaoh and his army their lives.  The event of the cross, cost God his life.

Therefore, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”  Respect one another sexually. Respect your parents.  Worship faithfully. Take care your neighbor’s need for food. Don’t lie to one another.  Don’t cheat each other. Pay living wages. Don’t slander one another. Stand up and defend your neighbor. Treat the stranger as you would a member of your family.

This text from Leviticus is paired with Jesus parable of the hated, untrustworthy, worthless, Samaritan who turned out to be a man’s neighbor.  Jesus blows to smithereens all the reasons we have for not taking care of others in their need.      

Gospel Implications

Last week we moved from God’s greatness and majesty
To those whom God looks on in Grace
The humble and crushed.
This week
We move from myself
To the whole congregation
to look upon all in our midst with care
including those humbled and crushed by life
Even the stranger, the refugee, the undeserving
Jesus says: Be neighbor to them as I was neighbor 
to you

Mother Church

The early church father, Cyprian wrote, “One cannot have God as Father who does not have the church as mother.”  Tomorrow as we read God speaking in the Old Testament Lesson from Isaiah 66:10-14, we have before us the image of a mother.  In Isaiah the mother image points to Jerusalem.  For us, it points to the church.  It calls us to rejoice in the church, be glad for the church, all who love her and all who mourn her.  For the function of the church as Paul puts it in the epistle lesson is to act in a spirit of gentleness.  We read in Isaiah, “That you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious abundance.”  The church is to satisfy the longing for the pure spiritual milk of the word.  To in effect be a mother carrying a child on her hip and bouncing it on her knee.  The church is to be like a mother who comforts her child as announced in chapter 40, “Comfort, comfort my people.”

Whether we can rejoice over the church or whether we mourn it as not being what it once was.  God still has chosen the church to announce to the world as Peter did on Pentecost, “Turn to God and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.”  And then to offer the nourishment of the sacrament of salvation, Jesus body and blood in Communion. Thus, all may taste and see the goodness of God.