(Luke 10, 25-37)
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Glory to Jesus Christ! Dear brothers and sisters!
A certain lawyer came to Jesus and said: “Master, what must I do to gain eternal life?” Jesus told him to keep the commandments of God, to love God with whole heart and to love the neighbor. Wishing to justify himself the lawyer asked Jesus: “Who is my neighbor?”
Jesus took him up and said this story:
“A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell in with robbers, who after both stripping him and beating him went their way, leaving him half-dead. As it happened, a certain priest was going down the same way. And when he saw him, he passed by… And in like manner a Levite, when he came to the place, - and saw him, passed by.
But a certain Samaritan came to the place, and seeing him was moved with compassion. He bound up his wounds, pouring oil and wine. He brought him to an inn, and took care of him”. “Which of these three, in thy opinion, proved-himself neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?” And lawyer said: “He who took pity on him”. “Go and do thou also in like manner”, said Jesus.
We should love our neighbors because we all brothers in Christ. We are created by the same heavenly Father. We are destined to the same kingdom of heaven. Jesus, Son of God, died on the cross for each one of us. Jesus taught the meaning of love more by His deeds than by His words.
The love of our neighbors should be not in words, but in our deeds. Every man of every race and color is our neighbor. But the world of today has its own interpretation of the word, neighbor…In this interpretation our neighbors are those who good to us, who are on our side. It is not true. Jesus came to save all people. He suffered for all people. We meet every day many of bruised hearts. Do you offer them a word of cheer? Do you pour in their hearts the oil of sympathy? Do you help in their needs? With hanging head many must confess, that they were thoughtless and cold to their neighbors.
Jesus turns the lawyer’s question around. The question is not, “Who is my neighbor?” It is, “How can I be a neighbor?” We may be tempted to complain that Jesus’ message is too vague. He doesn’t define neighbor for us, he doesn’t give us a law; he merely tells us that being a neighbor means “being merciful”. It would be so easy if neighbor were limited to my friends, to “good guys”, to those who think or look like me. We struggle to hear this word, so that our action will truly be that of a disciple on the way to Jerusalem with Jesus.
Lord Jesus, help me to listen to your word so that I can be more neighborly.
Fr. Myroslav Dumych