November 12, 2023

Homily One for the Eighth Sunday of Luke (St. Luke of Simferopol)

He Who Has No Mercy Ceases To Be Human

Luke 10:25-37

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on November 19, 1950)

The Parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the most important parables of Jesus Christ, for it, like lightning, illuminated with divine light the darkness of human life, full of enmity and hatred, and the exaltation of some over others. Enmity was the law of life in ancient times, when only strength was respected, and no one thought about mercy. And the Lord made it clear how to rebuild our lives so that our behavior would be salutary and pleasing to God. He taught that we should base our attitude towards people on mercy and love.

The Samaritans were a despicable and rejected people for the Jews; they were not considered “neighbors.” But the Lord, with His divine parable, forced the lawyer, who asked who his neighbor was, to admit that it was the Samaritan who was such, and not the merciless Jewish priest and Levite.

Enmity and force in relations between people and between entire nations remain to this day, so many years after the Nativity of Christ, the same universal law of behavior as in Old Testament times. The parable of Christ taught the true path only to those whom it struck as some kind of divine revelation, who accepted the word of Christ in their hearts, which was finally said to the scribe: “Go, and do likewise” (Luke 10:37). Only a few, true Christians, have understood the full profound meaning of this parable. They, who loved the Lord with all their hearts, now constitute a new, unprecedented example of a community of people united by faith in Jesus Christ, burning with love for Him, and guided in their lives by His holy commandments.

I will say in the words of the great Apostle Paul that in this new Christian community there is no longer “Jew nor Gentile, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). People of different nations, customs, different education, and strength of mind belong to it. It is love for the Lord that unites them with inextricable bonds, as the holy Apostle Paul says in his Epistle to the Ephesians: “They, who were previously pagans or Jews, were distant, but now they have become close. Through the blood of Christ we became close. For He is our peace, who has made both one and has broken down the barrier that stood in the middle” (see Eph. 2:12–14).

People have erected many barriers among themselves, they have isolated themselves from each other, they do not want to know each other. Only those who are with them behind their partition are considered close, and those who are outside are considered hated. The Lord abolished hostility by His flesh, and the law by teaching; with His blood He destroyed the walls that again arise between people. But many do not even want to know about the destruction of this wall, they do not believe in Christ and consider His Cross in nothing.

This is something different, previously unheard of, that Christ’s parable about the Merciful Samaritan brought to the world. The Lord told it to us, wanting to show that the basis of our life, the basis of relations between peoples should be based on a norm hitherto unknown to the world - mercy. And only when we accept this norm, replacing the old ones with it, forgetting enmity and hatred, only then will peace reign on earth.

Gospel relationships between people are so holy because Jesus Christ commanded us to be “perfect, just as our Heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). How is the perfection of our Heavenly Father revealed? His love, for “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16), and mercy, as mentioned in many places in Holy Scripture: “He is good, and merciful, and righteous” (Ps. 112:4), “He is good and merciful” (Joel 2:13). And Christ Himself commanded us: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). This is the main thing He requires from us. At the Last Judgment He will call upon those who have done deeds of mercy: “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). And to those who, being acquisitive, were in wealth and did not want to share it with the suffering, he will loudly command: “Depart from Me, you cursed, into eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). After all, even in ancient times there was a commandment that even today seems inaccessible to many: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matt . 22:39; Mark 12:31 ). If it is commanded, then it is possible.

The great Saint John Chrysostom said amazing words about mercy: “In mercy there is truth, and truth in mercy.” After all, is it true that we, having abundance and even an excess of earthly goods, look indifferently at our neighbors, hungry and naked? Only then will there be truth in our hearts when the deprived and persecuted will arouse compassion in us. The truth is that we love our neighbors.

Elsewhere, Saint John Chrysostom says: “He who does not have mercy ceases to be human.” How can you stop being human? Don’t you see when you read the newspapers and every day you learn with horror about the unbearable atrocities that people who are devoid of mercy are committing in Korea? By calling their deeds atrocities, we compare them with beasts, which means whoever does not have love becomes a monster - a beast.

And Saint John also writes: “It is impossible to do without mercy on the eve of the kingdom of heaven.” One who is unmerciful to his neighbor and has only hatred and malice towards him cannot even approach the threshold. And we, humble Christians, won’t we shudder when we hear what will happen if we don’t do deeds of mercy?

Let us always remember this great parable of Christ about the Good Samaritan. Let us remember that with His Blood He destroyed all the barriers between people who made His Cross their sign, and the commandments the law of life. Let us remember the ancient commandment of the law, given by God thousands of years before the birth of Christ: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deut. 6:5); “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18).

May we be justified by mercy at the Last Judgment of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom befits honor and worship together with His Most Holy Father and His Life-giving Spirit. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

Become a Patreon or Paypal Supporter:

Recurring Gifts

Contact Form


Email *

Message *