the miracle of becoming a neighbor
"Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor?" —Luke 10:36
A lawyer asked Jesus: "Who is my neighbor?" (Lk 10:29) Jesus assumed that everyone was our neighbor and answered another question: "How do I become a neighbor?" A neighbor takes responsibility for others, even for strangers. A neighbor is not apathetic. Being a neighbor is a grace, a miracle. We can't do it by our own power.
There may not be as many neighbors around as we've thought. Even priests and religious people may not be neighbors (see Lk 10:31-32). On the other hand, unexpected people, like Samaritans or our enemies, may become neighbors. A neighbor helps other human beings just because they are human beings. We revere other people as persons not because of what they've done or how good they are but simply because they are persons (1 Pt 2:17).
A neighbor not only refers others to where they can receive more help, but also personally serves those in need. The Samaritan hoisted the beaten man "on his own beast and brought him to an inn, where he cared for him" (Lk 10:34). Therefore, being a neighbor is often dirty and expensive (Lk 10:34-35). "If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members share its joy" (1 Cor 12:26). This identification and solidarity expresses itself in compassion (Lk 10:37), that is, in "suffering with" the other person.
Prayer: Father, do the miracle of making me a neighbor.
Promise: "If I were trying to win man's approval, I would surely not be serving Christ!" —Gal 1:10
Praise: St. Bruno expressed his love for his neighbor through his vow of poverty and austerity.
Reference: (Married couples, plan some time together at our retreat center in Adams County, Ohio, for a retreat to deepen your relationship with your spouse and God. Call 937-587-5464 to register.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 1, 2008
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