The Gospel features one of the most beautiful and well known of all the parables, the story of the Good Samaritan. It is found only in Luke’s Gospel.
As Jesus tells the story of the traveler, ambushed and injured by robbers, and deliberately overlooked by “good” people who pass by, Jesus destroys all expectations of “neighbor.” Our neighbor is not defined by social class, income, religion, gender or ethnicity. A neighbor is a person who acts with compassion toward another. In Jesus’ time, this idea was shocking. Even today, many people are still challenged by the question “Who is my neighbor?”
Jesus’ point in the story of the Good Samaritan is that we are all meant to be people who treat one another with compassion – even when it’s very difficult.
“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.”
Love of God and love of neighbor are required for eternal life. We’re blessed that you are part of our global community of neighbors who believe this love also makes life on earth so much more enjoyable and rewarding. This week let’s all try to take a longer look at our many neighbors – near and far – and consider the lives we have the ability to touch with mercy and compassion.
They are gifts we can all afford to give. Let’s help as many people as we can with prayers and action.