“Who is my neighbour?” (Lk 10:29)
Lord, open our hearts to those we do not see
Additional scripture passages
- Romans 13:8-10
- Psalm 119:57-63
The teacher of the law wanted to justify himself, hoping that the neighbour he is called to love is one of his own faith and people. This is a natural human instinct. When we invite people to our homes, they are quite often people who share our social status, our outlook on life and our values. There is a human instinct to prefer places of familiarity. This is also true of our Church communities. But Jesus takes the lawyer, and his wider audience, deeper into their own tradition by reminding them of the obligation to welcome and to love all, regardless of religion, culture or social status.
The Gospel teaches that loving those who are like ourselves is nothing special. Jesus steers us towards a much more radical version of what it means to be human. The parable illustrates in a very visible way what Christ expects from us – to open wide our hearts and walk in his way, loving others as he loves us. In fact, Jesus answers the lawyer with another question: it is not “who is my neighbour?”, but “who was a neighbour to the man in need?”
Our times of insecurity and fear confront us with a reality where distrust and uncertainty come to the forefront of relationships. This is the challenge of the parable today: to whom am I a neighbour?
The Lawyer’s Tale
I love God’s Law.
I dearly, dearly want to keep the Law.
It’s the foundation of my life
and my eternity.
But I want to know how,
I want to do it right.
That’s why I asked
who it is that I should love as myself.
And he answered
with a tale about a strange encounter,
an encounter of strangers.
And I will reflect
about the one who showed mercy.
And I bear the challenge
to be like that one,
in the outlaw’s shadow.
Go and Do
Personal: Think of a person you have never really thought of as your neighbour. How can you be a neighbour to them in a practical way?
Local: Think of the church/congregation geographically nearest to your own with which you have little or no contact, and make contact!
Global: Take practical steps as a church or group of churches to be neighbours to the people of Burkina Faso.
Original source: WPCU 2024