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Question

Good morning father Angelo,

We are Benedetta and Nicolò, two brothers of 10 and 8 years old.

We were asking ourselves why in the parable of the Good Samaritan the only man who stopped to help was someone who was considered the less important, and who was also in dispute with the jews.

We wish you a happy Advent season.

Benedetta and Nicolò


The answer from father Angelo

Dear Benedetta and Nicolò,

1- I’m happy to answer your question, and I will answer you immediately because of your young age: 8 and 10 years old! 

You ask me why the Lord chooses a Samaritan as the protagonist of the parable.

2- Well, you should know that the Samaritans were a people which formed from the fusion of Israelites with Assyrian colonizers, during that time when the Hebrews were deported to Babylon.

Because of this union, the Hebrews considered them impure like the pagans. Therefore they could not participate in the sacrifices.

In fact, the Hebrews refused the collaboration of the Samaritans in the rebuilding of the temple, and they prevented them from participating in the sacrifices that were immolated in the temple of Jerusalem.

3- One might ask why in this parable Our Lord decided to represent a priest and a Levite (the Levites were employed in the cult) as those who did not stop to help the wounded man.

The reason is clear: if a jew had stopped to help that poor half-dead man, he would have touched his wounds and blood, and therefore would not have been able to celebrate divine worship for that day. In fact, according to the Judaic law, anyone who touched blood became impure, had to be purified and for that whole day could not celebrate divine worship.

4- The meaning of this parable is that an act of charity is more important and more pleasing to God than any observance of the law.  Our Lord chooses a Samaritan to say that before God there is more appreciation for a man despised by the jews because considered impure than for a man who lacks in charity, even if he maintains himself pure according to the law in order to celebrate divine worship.

5- I would like to remind you that the impurity of the Samaritan refers to his possibility of celebrating divine worship. It was not an impurity that soils the heart. In other words, it was not sin.

6- Dear Benedetta and Nicolò, tomorrow is the feast of the Immaculate, the Mother of Jesus: she never soiled her heart with sin. I wish for Our Lady to always keep you pure; and not pure as it was intended by ancient Hebrews, but pure as Jesus intended it when He said: “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5,8).

I bless you and I will happily remember you in my prayers.

Father Angelo