On the Good Samaritan
"The Logic of Christ ... Is the Logic of Charity"
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VATICAN CITY, JULY 11, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today before praying the midday Angelus together with those gathered in the courtyard of the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.
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Dear brothers and sisters,
A few days ago -- as you see -- I left Rome for the summer sojourn at Castel Gandolfo. I thank God who offers me this possibility of rest. To the dear inhabitants of this town, where I always gladly return, I offer my cordial greeting.
This Sunday’s Gospel opens with the question that a doctor of the law poses to Jesus: “Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25). Knowing that he is an expert in the sacred Scriptures, the Lord invites that man to answer the question himself, which, in fact, he formulates perfectly, citing the two principal commandments: love God with all your heart, with all your mind and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. Then the doctor of the law, to justify himself, asks: “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29). This time Jesus answers with the celebrated parable of the “Good Samaritan” (cf. Luke 10:30-37), to point out that it belongs to us to be “neighbors” to whomever has need of help. The Samaritan, in fact, takes charge of the situation of a stranger, whom the brigands left half dead on the side of the road; while a priest and a Levite passed him by, perhaps thinking that, because of a certain precept, they would be contaminated if they came in contact with his blood. The parable, thus, must make us change our attitude following the logic of Christ, which is the logic of charity: God is love, and worshiping him means serving our brothers with sincere and generous love.
This Gospel passage offers the “standard,” which is the “universal love toward the needy whom we encounter ‘by chance’ (cf. Luke 10:31), whoever they may be” (“Deus Caritas Est,” No. 25). Alongside this universal rule, there is also a specifically ecclesial responsibility: within the ecclesial family no member should suffer through being in need” (“Deus caritas est,” No. 25). The Christian’s project, taken from Jesus’ teaching, is “a heart that sees” where love is needed and acts appropriately (“Deus caritas est,” No. 31).
Dear friends, I would like to recall that today the Church also remembers St. Benedict of Norcia -- the great patron of my pontificate -- the father and legislator of western monasticism. He, as St. Gregory the Great reports, “was a man who lived a holy life … blessed by grace and blessed in grace” (“Dialogi,” II, 1, “Bibliotheca Gregorii Magni,” IV, Roma 2000, p. 136). “He wrote a rule for monks … the mirror of a teaching incarnated in his person: for the holy man could not otherwise teach, than himself lived” (“Dialogi,” II, 36, p. 208). Pope Paul VI proclaimed St. Benedict the Patron of Europe on Oct. 24, 1964, recognizing the wondrous work he did in the formation of European civilization.
I entrust our journey of faith to the Virgin Mary and, in particular, this time of vacation, so that our hearts never lose sight of the Word of God and our brothers in difficulty.
[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]
[After the Angelus the Holy Father greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In English, he said:]
I am happy to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for this Angelus prayer. Today’s Liturgy reminds us that to be Christians means to be faithful to the words and example of Jesus, especially by living a life of love of God and neighbour. May the Lord give us grace and courage so that we may always respond generously, as good Samaritans, to the needs of all who suffer, near and far. I wish you all a pleasant stay in Castel Gandolfo and Rome and a blessed Sunday!
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