I know I'm dating myself by choosing this particular title, "Let me make this perfectly clear." A more recent example might be , "Let me be clear." The first is a famous quote attributed to Richard Nixon while the second is a go-to phrase of President Barack Obama. No I'm not going political this week but I thought both of these statements could have appeared in this week's Gospel.
There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read it?" He said in reply, "You 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." He replied to him, "You have answered correctly; do this and you will live."
But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, 'Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.' Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers' victim?" He answered, "The one who treated him with mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." Luke 10:25-37
Jesus was frequently questioned by the elite of Israel. The intentions of the scholar who asks about eternal life are not initially clear. Jesus turns the question back on the scholar who answers it correctly. As the dialogue continues the scholar's intentions become clear. He continues to test Jesus. The scholar, who surely knew the prescribed answer, points to the letter of the law about loving God and neighbor. Jesus makes it clear as to what is truly expected of those who seek eternal life. In the story of the Good Samaritan Jesus contrasted the merciful behavior of the despised Samaritan with that of the elite priest and Levite.
This is where I see the above quotes fitting into the Gospel. There were many times that Jesus could have said, "Let me make this perfectly clear." The scholar needed clarification for what truly mattered. Jesus points to the mercy of the Samaritan as a demonstration of what it takes to inherit eternal life. He makes it very clear. It should be simple. It is, if our intentions are right.
Let me make this perfectly clear, "...do this (LOVE) and you will live." And if that doesn't do it for you, let me be clear, "Go and do (BE MERCIFUL) likewise."