Reading: Luke 10: 29-37
God, who is my neighbor? This question has a different connotation today than it had in Jesus’ day. In Jesus’ day, the community was close knit. One knew a lot about one’s neighbors. But today many people do no even know the person across the street. We may have hundreds of friends on social media flung far across the world, but we are too often isolated in our own homes.
In today’s parable Jesus sees neighbor as not just the people living around us, but also as anyone we might come into contact with. This definition really changes the ball game. We might be willing to take a meal to the family next door if we know they are struggling, but the family across town that we do not even know? In Jesus’ world, yes we would. Neighbor is everyone.
We can take a meal to the family next door even if we are really not friends. We can do it even if we do not really get along. It is a quick, limited interaction type of engagement. It is a safe foray with little commitment. In our story today, the Samaritan goes beyond this – way beyond. He stopped, got his hands dirty, actually cared for the wounded man, took him to a place to recover, and paid for it. He even told the innkeeper he would pay for any additional expenses when he returned. And I bet he stopped in and checked on the wounded man. They probably became friends!
Jesus saw all people as His neighbor. In the parable we clearly see our call ad Christians to love all people that we encounter. It is the example set by the Samaritan and by Jesus. As Jesus said to the lawyer, may we too go and do likewise.