Grateful, or Good Enemies???
Jews in the times of Jesus’ time do have a historical enemity with Samaritains. In this context, we should read the parable of Good Samaritan. It was not only giving the message of the hospitality or the care of the Samaritain shown towards an injured jew; but it is really difficult for any Jew to listen to that message that the person who helped and the person whom Jesus’ followers is called to imitate is a “good samaritain”. In today’s english langauge, ‘good samaritain’ has become a word of the common use. But this dimension of enmity associated with two groups, shouldn’t be forgotten to get the proper message of the parable.
There is another incident in the Gospel of Luke where ten lepers were healed. Only one of them came back to thank Jesus, and interestingly that grateful healed leper is a “Samaritain”.
In today’s polarized world, where we create enough and more boundaries, where we create enough and more enemies (real/fictional/psychological/for creating a narrative), we need to read these two incidents in the Gospel by changing the words. I need to take the place of Jew, and my enemy (in a personal or communitarian level) will take the place of the Samaritain. Yes, can that enemy become a “good samaritain” or a “grateful samaritain”. Definitely, it is not justifying the mistakes of enemy (if they did), but whether our relationships can be remain that of enemity or not? Should we remain in the deadlock or should we open up channels of communication and reconciliation? Beyond that, some of the images of our enemies are creations of our minds and we need to tear apart such images.