Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Missing the point

The Sunday readings at this time of year are about issues to do with social justice. So last Sunday was about The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). It's a rich, cultural tale lambent with meaning.
My point about these stories is that Jesus is often reinforcing the obvious. In this case, we all know that Christians should be looking out for the underdog.
A couple of interesting points about the story.
We've all heard interpretations over the years about why the priest and the levite walked by on the other side, my insight is that they probably just didn't see the guy beaten up on the side of the road.
This to me is the real problem in this mad world.....we just don't see need. Though the man is lying dying on the side of the road they just don't see him. They might be frightened, or careless...which heightens their inability to see properly, or at all, but basically they are blind.
Jesus's point? We are to do better than that.
Any way the homily went well, and people said nice things which seemed to suggest they had understood what I was saying.
One person engaged me in earnest dialogue and she had obviously understood. But then she adds..
"The trouble is these days it could be a drug addict"
"Would it make any difference?" I asked quizzically.
"Well they could punch you in the face!"

I had the good sense to just leave this conversation at this point


Anonymous said...

why the priest and the levite walked by on the other side, my insight is that they probably just didn't see the guy beaten up on the side of the road.

OK Stephen, that's the way you see it. This tells me something about you. Quite frankly, I think there are many intelligent people who would see it differently!


stephen clark said...

I was making the observation that I have heard lots of explanations (hypotheses) in the past...but that one had never really occurred to me until I was reading some commentary during the week. And this was a point Pam made to me
It is another hypothesis. The point about parables is that they seduce us to engage at multiple levels, but they resist the temptation to tell us there is only one answer!
Hope you are well.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Stephen. Well, in my limited understanding, 'well' can be a tad subjective; but according to some of those whose profession calls for objectivity I am 'weller' than I have been for a year or two.
Well again, it could be that your observation was a tittle obscure. I think (although of course I can't be certain) that I take your point about parables; but on the other hand I could have been seduced by the temptation to hypothesise that there can be more than one answer to an esoteric question. However I confess to the opinion that the parable is patently making the point that the cleric and the levite, after seeing the Samaritan, chose in fact not to 'see what they were seeing'. It seemed to me that on that point we differ, albeit again that I can't be certain. Is there an unequivocal criterion of 'certainty'? Can you 'see what I am on about' yet? AJB

stephen clark said...

I see what you are on about.
I think it is certainly true that the story also suggests that the priest and the levite went by on the other side...having seen what was there..it's a matter of opinion whether "not seeing" at all is worse than "seeing and choosing to not do anything"
Of course part of the point about parables is that both answers can be equally valid. Simple stories with multi-textures.
It occurs to me that probably the best indication of 'wellness' is one's own assessment.

Anonymous said...

I can't be as well as I thought. By this time I should have known better. ajb