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“And who is my neighbor?” This was the question posed to Jesus, and Jesus gives a very controversial answer. He says that the neighbor to a Jew can be a Samaritan. Remember that Jews and Samaritans were not overly friendly with one another; in fact, they came close to hatred for each other. To a Jew, a “Good Samaritan” was unthinkable.
So in a very controversial parable for a Jew to hear, Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan. It begins with a person who had been robbed, beaten and left half-dead on the side of the road. A priest passed him by — perhaps to avoid potentially touching the corpse of another man that would have made him unclean and unable to perform the rituals of religion. A Levite passed him by for a reason we do not know — perhaps he was in a hurry. Then along comes the Samaritan, the cultural enemy of the Jew. He is the neighbor who took this nearly dead man into his arms, carried him to a place of rest, and promised to pay for any and all expenses of his recovery.
Sometimes the people we are afraid of, or even reject, are the ones who can be our friends in times of need. And sometimes we can be their friends too. The person in need is neighbor to the person who is willing to help and vice versa.
Jesus comes to unite us in the family of humanity. Once we understand that we must not only love God above all things, but also care for one another, despite our differences of opinion, political affiliation, color, race or creed, we will have come close to inheriting eternal life itself.
Have a blessed week everyone.