An expert on the Law stood up to put Jesus to the test and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit everlasting life?”
Jesus answered, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”
The expert on the Law replied: “You must love the Most High God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus said, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you’ll live.”
But the expert on the Law, seeking self-justification, pressed Jesus further: “And just who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied, “There was a traveler going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, who fell prey to robbers. The traveler was beaten, stripped naked, and left half-dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road; the priest saw the traveler lying beside the road, but passed by on the other side. Likewise there was a Levite who came the same way; this one, too, saw the afflicted traveler and passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was taking the same road, also came upon the traveler and, filled with compassion, approached the traveler and dressed the wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then the Samaritan put the wounded person on a donkey, went straight to an inn and there took care of the injured one. The next day the Samaritan took out two silver pieces and gave them to the innkeeper with the request, ‘Look after this person, and if there is any further expense, I’ll repay you on the way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was the neighbor to the traveler who fell in with the robbers?”
The answer came, “The one who showed compassion.”
Jesus replied, “Then go and do the same.”
Artist’s Note: To make this painting, I prayed with the scripture passage, using Lectio Divina. At the end of this period of contemplation, I wrote the following poem.
Peregrination by KPB Stevens Beloved, I am the thief who looks across the road, and sees the rich man, walking, and I am the rich man, ambushed by the gang of self, beaten, beaten, and left for dead, and I am the many characters who pass me by, afraid, worried, urgent with tasks, and I stoop beside myself, a stranger, and I bandage myself, a bewildering stranger, and I pay for my lodging in a place I didn’t think was made for healing and I go wandering from myself, wandering, expressing my yearning in walking, still myself, a guest of the world, with you as the still center of my traveling.
Translation: Priests for Equality. The Inclusive Bible (p. 2246). Sheed & Ward. Kindle Edition.