Homily by St Bede the Venerable on Luke 10:23-37

I. And turning to His disciples, He said: Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see. Blessed were the eyes not of Scribes and Pharisees, which saw only the body of the Lord but of those who were able to see the things belonging to faith and salvation, and of whom it is written: Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones (Luke 10:21). Blessed, therefore, are the eyes of the humble and little ones, to whom the Son of God deigned to reveal Himself and the Father also. I say to you that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things you see, and have not seen them. Even patriarchs desired to see these things: Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see My day the day of My Birth; he saw it in his strong faith and was glad (see John 8:56). Isaias and Micheas (Micah)  and many other holy prophets saw in the darkness of future times the glory of the Lord, wherefore they are called SEERS in Holy Scripture. But they all beheld it afar off, seeing it through a glass, in a dark manner (1 Cor 13:12). But the Apostles, having the happiness of seeing our Lord face to face, of eating with Him, and learning from Him by their questions whatsoever they liked, had no need of being taught by angels or by different kinds of visions. They who by Luke are called prophets and kings, are named by Matthew prophets and just men (Matt 13:17). Just men are mighty kings indeed, for they know how to govern their rebellious passions, instead of falling under them, and thus becoming their slaves.

II. And behold a certain lawyer stood up, tempting Him, and saying: Master, what must I do to possess eternal life? This lawyer, who stood up to ask the Lord a tempting question about eternal life, took the subject of his asking, as I think, from the words just uttered by our Lord: Rejoice in this, that your names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20). But his attempt was certainly a proof of these other words immediately following: I confess to Thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones.

III. However, our Lord answered the lawyer, and put this question to him: What is written in the law? And the lawyer, answering, said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And the Lord praised that answer as very good, since by the love of God we attain perfection, and walk on the road to eternal life; and He said: This do, and thou shalt live. Again, when the lawyer, answering Jesus, said that the neighbour was he who showed mercy to the man fallen among robbers on the road to Jericho, Jesus said to him: Go, and do thou in like manner. And by these words our Redeemer seems to say: Remember that the charity and help thou owest to thy neighbour must be like that of the Samaritan must consist, not in words only, but in deeds, if by thy charity thou wish to obtain eternal life.

IV. But he, willing to justify himself, said to Jesus: And who is my neighbour? Consider the foolishness of his vainglory! He wished to justify himself, and at the same time to obtain the favour and esteem of the people who were listening to him. Trying to show his presumptuous wisdom before the eyes of the world, he only dis closed his ignorance concerning the first commandment prescribed by the Law. Yet, though pronounced by Jesus as wise and prudent, this lawyer deserved to be deprived of the special knowledge of the mysteries of God, revealed to pure and innocent souls, because he refused to humble himself with the little ones so dear to Jesus, and wished to justify himself.

V. Let us finally consider that, by His answer to the lawyer concerning our neighbour, our Lord wished to convey this lesson, that the neighbour is he who does mercy and gives assistance to those in need. But besides this, we are taught by the parable that, under the word neighbour may be understood the Son of God Himself, Who approached us in a visible manner, when assuming our human nature. Yet, this meaning of Jesus Christ, being our neighbour, must not be taken in a figurative sense, as if dispensing us from the duty of rendering to our brethren all the works of love and charity commanded by the Law.

VI. Carefully considering the parable in this Gospel, we shall at once see that the Samaritan, giving a helping hand to the man found on the road and covered with wounds, is a figure of Jesus Christ, Who, in a more worthy and sublime sense and with a special love, became our neighbour by taking upon Himself our wounds to heal them. Let us, therefore, love Him, for He is our Lord and God; let us love Him as our neighbour, since, being our Head and we His members, He cannot be nearer to us. Let us also love those that follow Him, and show that we love our neighbour as ourselves by giving them all spiritual and temporal help in our power.

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One Response to Homily by St Bede the Venerable on Luke 10:23-37

  1. Pingback: Commentaries for the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C | stjoeofoblog

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