July 14, 2019: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading: Luke 10:25-37
There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus 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.”
Who is my neighbor? I know the answer. You are my neighbor. But still this is difficult sometimes. It’s easier sometimes to judge another by their outward appearance or behavior or circumstance than by their actual need. In order to love my neighbor I am required to communicate with her, to get to know her. Loving my neighbor requires active participation not avoidance. Yes, sometimes this is difficult, but as this parable suggests, we are called again to discipleship. “Love one another as I have loved you” is a declaration, calling us, still, to discipleship.
“You must love one another just as I have loved you.” It is clear. Jesus does not say “except ….” Consider this week who your neighbor is. Perhaps it’s the lady next door, the tired postal worker, your aunt in the nursing home. You know who your “neighbor” is. Is it time to invest some time in that neighbor?