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a love-hate relationship
"He threw himself on his face at the feet of Jesus and spoke His praises. This man was a Samaritan." —Luke 17:16
"Recall that Jews have nothing to do with Samaritans" (Jn 4:9). The Jews and the Samaritans had a long history of being enemies. Yet Jesus spoke to and brought salvation to a Samaritan woman (see Jn 4:42). This surprised both the Samaritan woman (Jn 4:9) and Jesus' disciples (Jn 4:27). Jesus also made a Samaritan the hero of His story about loving one's neighbor (Lk 10:33). Then Jesus pointed out that the Samaritan leper was the only one of the ten who were healed that returned to thank Him (Lk 17:16-18). As with the Samaritan woman, Jesus gave salvation to this grateful Samaritan (Lk 17:19). Immediately before Jesus ascended, He promised to give us the Holy Spirit so we could be His "witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, yes, even to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8). This promise was fulfilled when Philip "went down to the town of Samaria and there proclaimed the Messiah" (Acts 8:5).
Jesus loved and loves Samaritans. Jesus openly proclaims His love for our long-standing enemies — for those whom it is politically correct to vilify and demonize. Jesus loves those whom it is very unpopular to love. By His love for those who are the enemies whom we all agree should be hated, Jesus sets Himself up to be unpopular, persecuted, and hated.
Jesus commands us to love as He loves. Therefore, love your Samaritans and expect to be hated for your love, as Jesus was and is.
Prayer: Father, may I love so as to be hated as You are.
Promise: "The lowly may be pardoned out of mercy but the mighty shall be mightily put to the test." —Wis 6:6
Praise: St. Leo had a profound supernatural gift of administration, which was a hallmark of his papacy. "The first requirement of an administrator is that he prove trustworthy" (2 Cor 4:2). St. Leo was a faithful administrator of the mysteries of God (1 Cor 4:1) and defended the faith from heresy for two decades.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, April 10, 1999
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 16, 1999