Deuteronomy 30:10-14; Psalm 69:13, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36, 37 (R/. cf. 33) or Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 11; Colossians 1:15-20; cf. John 6:63c, 68c; Luke 10:25-37
“Good fences make good neighbors” the expression goes. Today Jesus offers an alternative view. After a man asks him, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus responds with a parable that offers an answer. The very word “neighbor” means one who lives near. However, Jesus was not limiting the definition of neighbor to physical proximity, though his understanding starts with that; the neighbor in the parable is the Samaritan who draws near, not crossing to the other side of the road as the priest and Levite did. But as the parable goes on, a listener realizes that being a neighbor is more than that. To be a neighbor is to reach out to help anyone in need, setting aside any barriers that wither society or selfishness might set up. To be a neighbor is to open one’s heart to another, recognizing in the other the image of the God who created them. To be a neighbor is to treat another with mercy. Only the Samaritan was truly a neighbor. He came close to the victim and stayed. He did not just visit; he committed.
How are you as a neighbor? Who needs you as a neighbor?