Wherever we are on our journey back Home, we need to constantly keep before our internal eye sign posts, crossroads, and even detours. God uses everything in our travels, you might say, even in what seems to be a paradox or outright “derailment.” Another of Jesus’ parables is a good example of this. When the good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37) rescued the man beaten and left for dead on the road to Jericho, he hastened to minister to him with abandon. He poured oil and wine into his wounds and bandaged them. After that he took the poor man to an inn to further take care of him, ending up paying for anything extra he might need in the following days of his recovery. The lesson was meant to demonstrate: “Who is my neighbor,” but there is an interpretation of this parable that is relevant in demonstrating God’s Providence.
The Church Fathers including Augustine, Jerome, and Ambrose, identified the Good Samaritan as Jesus Himself. The poor man on the side of the road is humanity wounded by sin ~ and more personally each one of us as individuals. Through original sin and our own chosen sins, we are covered with wounds. Pouring the oil and wine of compassion on these wounds and binding them, represents Jesus taking on our wounds so that we may be healed. The inn is a symbol of the Church.
The point of this reflection is to underline what was said above regarding paradoxes and derailment. This is sometimes required in order for us to come into a frame of mind and neediness of soul, to truly accept and realign ourselves to our need for God’s saving grace. Jesus, who is never far from us, needs our cooperation. Again referring to St. Augustine: “He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent” . . . [and] “Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.” Augustine himself was an example of the poor beaten man on the side of the road. As a matter of fact ~ look to the saints and see the same!