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Teaching about Retaliation and Love of Enemies

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Lesson Overview

In this week鈥檚 Gospel passage, Jesus continues His teaching on the Law. Here, He deepens His command to love our neighbor by telling us that our neighbor includes our enemy. In this lesson, students will reflect on sacred art and the parable of the Good Samaritan as an illustration of Jesus鈥 teaching.

Lesson Materials


  • Have your students read the Gospel passage, or read it aloud to your students, and then answer the focus questions. You may have students answer them on their own or you may discuss them together as a class.
  • In groups of three or four, have your students reflect on the painting The Good Samaritan by Vincent Van Gogh using the given reflection questions.
  • When complete, call on groups to share and discuss their answers.

Answer Key

Focus Questions

  1. The Old Law said: 鈥淓ye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.鈥
  2. Offer no resistance, turn the other cheek, if someone asks something of you, give them more and do not turn your back.
  3. Jesus鈥 teaching makes it clear that we should not be the ones to take the eye for an eye and so forth. Everyone will still receive their just reward from God for their actions in the end. Therefore, we should always show love and compassion to others, even those who might wish to harm us.
  4. Jesus challenges us to love even those who hurt and wrong us. No good comes from evil done, even if it seems justified.
  5. The Old Law said: 鈥淟ove your neighbor, hate your enemy.鈥
  6. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
  7. The old teaching to hate your enemy is an action that would keep us separate from those who harm us. This is not a bad thing. However, it may lead to a growing dislike of them. When we love our enemies, we have a greater chance of changing their hearts and preserving our own life as well.
  8. Jesus challenges us to do the harder thing, which is love those who do not love us. In fact, He goes further and challenges us to love as the Father loves, to be perfect as He is perfect.

The Good Samaritan

  1. Accept reasoned answers.
  2. Accept reasoned answers.
  3. This painting shows the Samaritan helping the robbery victim. He is helping him onto his horse to take him to the inn. The figures in the front are the Samaritan and the robbery victim. The figures in the background are the priest and the Levite walking away.
  4. The scholar asked Jesus 鈥淲hat must I do to inherit eternal life?鈥 Jesus asked the scholar what he thought the answer to the question was, to which he answered 鈥淵ou shall love the lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.鈥 The Samaritan lived this command by caring for his neighbor and attending to his wounds. By doing so, he was also showing his love for God by following His command.
  5. Jesus鈥檚 teaching was to love our enemies. The priest and the Levite avoided doing this, and so failed to love their neighbor. The Samaritan, who was considered an enemy, and could rightfully consider the Jews his own enemy, disregarded this and helped a person in need.
  6. Accept reasoned answers.


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