Jesus and the Kingdom of God.

Jesus the Good Samaritan. Ever since the second century, the obvious ethical meaning of the parable as an injunction to love one’s neighbor has been complemented by an allegorical interpretation in which the Good Samaritan represents Jesus. For example, Irenaeus writes that “human nature had fallen in with robbers, but he had pity on it and bound its wounds.” Origen adds, “The man who was going down is Adam….The Samaritan is Christ….He carries the half-dead man and brings him….to the Church.” Origen does not ignore the ethical lesson: “It is possible for us to imitate Christ…He is speaking not so much to the teacher of the law as to us when he says, ‘Go and do likewise.'” Augustine also uses the allegorical interpretation: “The whole human race, you see, is that man who was lying in the road, left there by bandits half-dead, who was ignored by the passing priest and Levite, while the passing Samaritan stopped by him to take care of him and help him….In this Samaritan Jesus wanted us to understand himself.” And again: “Robbers have left you half-dead on the road; but you’ve been found lying there by the passing and kindly Samaritan. Wine and oil have been poured into you, you have received the sacrament of the Only- begotten Son; you have been lifted upon his mule, you have believed that Christ has become flesh; you have been brought to the inn, you have been cured in the Church.”

Prayer and Almsgiving. The topic of the earlier conversation with the scholar of the law—loving God and neighbor—is further explained in Luke 11. At the beginning of the chapter, Jesus teaches his disciples about prayer. including The Lord’s Prayer, so that they can grow in love of God, sharing in Jesus’ own intimate relationship with the Father. At the end of the chapter, Jesus strongly corrects the Pharisees and scholars of the law for their preoccupation with ritual washings, urging that they love their neighbor by giving alms.

Jesus Teaches the Disciples to Pray. In this passage Jesus promises that people can have what they want just by asking: “And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For anyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (11:9-10). The disciples find Jesus as he is praying and they are motivated to deepen their prayer relationship with the Father. So Jesus teaches them The Lord’s Prayer. It is lacking in two elements: “on earth as it is in heaven” and “your will be done,” but that is Luke’s version. Mathew’s version adds the two elements that are lacking in Luke and it also adds “but deliver us from the evil one. The church went with Matthew’s version and its obvious why. Matthew’s version is from the Catholic Study Bible. Both versions contain “do not subject us to the final test,” which must have been dropped somewhere during the history of the Church. Jesus is teaching his disciples a more intimate form of prayer and relationship to the Father, who he tells them is “Abba,” Daddy. It expresses a family bond, indicating that “we may be called the children of God” (1 John 3:1). It is with such child-like trust and simplicity that we dare bring the petitions before the Father.

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread. The petition “Give us each day our daily bead” was interpreted in various ways by the church fathers, thus shedding light on the meanings it can have for contemporary Christians. St. Cyprian (3rd C), following Tertullian, explains that the petition may be understood both spiritually and literally. By the spiritual meaning, he refers to Christ as “the bread of life” and to the practice of receiving “his Eucharist daily as the food of salvation.” St. Augustine gives the literal meaning and two spiritual meanings. “Daily bread” represents all that is necessary to sustain us in this life…It may also represent the sacrament of the Body of Christ, which we receive daily.

The petition for bread functions on several levels. 1. It’s a prayer made in confidence in God that one’s needs will be met. 2. loaves of bread illustrate Jesus’ teaching on prayer 3. the bread points to gifts from God of a higher order–the Holy Spirit, for example 4. The first temptation of Jesus is a reminder that one does not live by bread alone-one also needs “the word of God.” 5. Jesus feeding the multitudes recalled manna in the wilderness, but also looked forward to the Eucharist 6. ” Give us this day our daily bread” has become a request for the Eucharist. The petition for bread thus fittingly follows the petition for the coming of the kingdom.

Prayer and Almsgiving.

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