Being Your Neighbor

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

July 10h, 2022 – Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 10:25-37

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
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Certainly, one of the most recognized figures in the gospels is one who has no name. Still, we easily bring him to mind when we simply say, “The Good …  .” We fill in the blank. The Good Samaritan.

Jesus used an account of what this nameless Samaritan did as an example of someone who truly loved his neighbor.  Every time I think of the challenge implied in the story, I become a little uneasy because the good Samaritan was exceedingly good! I ask myself, “Would I do something like what he did?” I also recall the many good Samaritans who have helped me during my own life. There are many.

Think about the details of the gospel story. Imagine the main character, minding his own business as he travelled along the road, coming upon a person who had been robbed, beaten and left half-dead, lying at the side of the road. He might have been shocked and hurried on, but instead, he stopped to help.

The point Jesus was making was clear. The good and loving person simply loved others as God wanted all of us to love. When there was clear need for help, we should respond with generosity. He stopped along his way to help someone in clear need. He gave emergency aid to the poor victim and took him to a safe place where he could get better. If this involved extra expenses, he said he would cover whatever was needed. (In our time, he might have left a credit card number.) His care and concern for this poor fellow, who he met at the side of the road, was unconditional.

Jesus was saying that genuine love of neighbor should not have limits. Nor should we be ones who help only family and friends, but all who are truly in need. Sadly, at times religious membership and beliefs separate us from others. Each of us can fall victim to religious prejudice and help only those similar to us or those we judge who “deserve” our help. 

Of course, Jesus is not asking us to do the impossible. But he is reminding us that we should be on the lookout for anyone who may need our assistance. Sometimes that may require financial aid. Or a more personal response, like a friendly greeting, a supportive presence or a simple favor. It all depends on circumstances. And need.

© David M. Thomas, PhD


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