Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi, religious
(Galatians 1:6-12; Luke 10:25-37)
Because of St. Francis’ love of the poor, his embracing poverty, and his unfailing effort to bring about reconciliation, he has been called “another Christ.” We too see in him a reflection of Jesus who lived hundreds of years before. We should similarly find a likeness of Christ in the Good Samaritan.
We are used to thinking of the Samaritan as a person like ourselves who should overcome prejudice to love everyone. An older interpretation of this parable, however, identifies us with the victim lying in the road. In this reading we have been brutalized by sin and left for dead in our folly. Then, the analysis continues, Jesus out of compassion comes to save us from damnation.
Our response to Christ for his generosity is to heed the commandment he gives to the scholar of the law inquiring about the requisites of eternal life. In going and doing like the Good Samaritan we imitate Christ. St. Francis serves as a worthy model in this endeavor. After his conversion from youthful swagger, Francis dedicated himself to preaching salvation by deed even more than by word.