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Who Are Our Neighbors?
Gospel Reflection for October 3, 2022
The story of the Good Samaritan is one of the most well-known parables in the Bible. It begins with a man wanting to know how to inherit eternal life. Jesus asks this man what the Law says about it, and the man replies, “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.” (Luke 10:27 NABRE) Jesus responds that this is correct, and that those who do this will live. The man, however, asks another question, “who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29) Jesus responds by telling the story of the good Samaritan.
Whereas two other men passed by the victim of a brutal robbery on the other side of the road, a good Samaritan “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.” (Luke 10:34) Jesus explained that this good Samaritan acted as a neighbor to the victim who was in need.
As Christians, our neighbors are not simply those who live next door. Our neighbors are not just our family and friends, or people that we’re familiar with. As Christians, everyone is our neighbor. Nationality, race, and religion, do not exclude certain people from being our neighbor! God calls us to love and care for everyone without exception! Strangers, outcasts, the elderly, the sick, the poor, and all who are overlooked by the world, must not be overlooked by us. They are our neighbors. Not everyone we come across will need physical care and attention, such as the victim in the parable. Sometimes our neighbors will simply need emotional support, or someone to talk to. So be on the lookout for those in need! And ask yourself—who have you been passing by?