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."
Cincinnati—my hometown—is a city of neighborhoods. Cincinnatians will tell you that they’re from Clifton or Hyde Park or Delhi or Over-the-Rhine. We think locally, proud of the different neighborhoods we come from.
Today, we hear in the Gospel the familiar story of the Good Samaritan. The key question is: Who is my neighbor? When the Jewish audience first heard this parable there must have been shock: Jesus says a Samaritan—a member of a group the Jews shunned—was neighbor to the man in trouble because he showed mercy. This story fits into one of Luke’s special Gospel themes—the welcoming of the strangers, the outcast, the poor, into the circle of God’s Kingdom. Luke’s missionary community must have faced a special challenge to welcome people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.
Perhaps this is a good Sunday to examine our parish’s hospitality and welcoming attitude. Who is my neighbor? is an important question for every Christian community. Though we may take pride in the history and traditions of our parish, we cannot exclude strangers or newcomers. Rather, we must recognize Christ in the stranger, as we heed Jesus’ command to “Go and do likewise.”
In the first reading, Moses urged the people to follow the voice of the Lord. Where could the Lord’s voice be found?
Was the law of God already in their hearts? If so, how?
Who is “the image of the invisible God” and the “firstborn of all creation” referred to in the second reading?
St. Paul says today, that Jesus made peace with God. How did he do that for us?
In this week's Gospel, who asked Jesus “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
How did Jesus answer the man when he asked, “Who is my neighbor?”
by Susan Hines-Brigger
Seek out volunteer opportunities to help those outside of your neighborhood, city, or even country. It could be some form of hands-on volunteering, such as at a local soup kitchen or food pantry, or it could be raising money for a project to help people.
In the Gospel, Jesus says to care for our neighbors as we care for ourselves. Sometimes, though, we neglect to take care of ourselves. This week, try to do something nice for yourself each day, such as go for a walk or spend time reading or praying.