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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Who is Our Neighbor? with Pastor Carlos

Who is Our Neighbor?

By the time Jesus was born, Jews and Samaritans had hated one another for hundreds of years. There were Jewish towns and Samaritan towns. Each group believed only they held the right way of worshiping God, even though they had a common history prior to the exile. Arrogance and disdain kept these two groups apart from each other, for the most part. Therefore, Jews were neighbors to Jews, and Samaritans were neighbors to Samaritans.

In this Sunday’s Gospel, a scholar of the law wants to know who his neighbors are, so he can fulfill the commandment to love his neighbor as himself. Perhaps he expected Jesus to tell him to get to know those around him, but instead Jesus provides an answer from left field, praising a Samaritan. No Jewish man would ever praise a Samaritan person because of the great prejudice against them.

When I used to volunteer at Catholic Charities years ago, a line I heard Bob Moser say was: “We don’t help others because they’re Catholic, we help them because We are.”

If Jesus had lived in America in the 1950’s, instead of a Samaritan, Jesus would have told the same story, but instead of a Samaritan, the helper would have been a Communist: "the Good Communist." Who would be considered a Samaritan in our society today?

When the Samaritan saw the man lying by the side of the road, he “was moved with compassion.” The others had no compassion; they were indifferent to the suffering of the wounded man lying on the road. With this parable Jesus is not only teaching us that indifference runs contrary to being a neighbor, but also that compassion transcends ethnic and religious lines, and any kind of dividing line we create.

God bless, Fr. Carlos, OS

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