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Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Today’s Gospel of Luke is explicit in telling us that the doctor of the Law who asks this question does so essentially to test Jesus. However, we’re grateful anyway, because on account of this question Jesus gave us the parable of the Good Samaritan. In fact, what Jesus really wants to say is very simple: We experience eternal life when we experience compassion.
The story he tells is built on the deafening silence of the person who should actually be the protagonist, namely the unfortunate man who is robbed and left half-dead on the ground. Throughout the story, this man does not say a single word. He doesn’t even ask for help, doesn’t give thanks, doesn’t really do anything. This is the condition in which we can come to find ourselves at certain times in life when we’re so tried by events that we have no prayers, no explicit wishes, and no strength left whatsoever.
What happens when we are totally helpless? The Lord stops and does something for us even though we don’t have even the faith or strength to ask Him. We are loved beyond our ability to believe in this love.
But Jesus also wants to add another teaching, a consequence of the disarming gratuitousness with which we are loved: When you realize that you’ve been loved in this way, then don’t remain the same. Spread with your life the love you have received! Behave as God does, loving with compassion and gratuitousness those you meet in life—especially those whom you seem to meet totally by chance upon the road of your existence.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.