There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him 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." He replied to him, "You have answered correctly; do this and you will live." But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,'Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.' Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers' victim?" He answered, "The one who treated him with mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." Luke 10:25-37
“Go and do likewise.” Can there be a more simple instruction from our Lord and Savior Jesus? With these words, He closes the Parable of the Good Samaritan. That parable was inspired by the question, “Who is my neighbor?”
That parable may be the most familiar to people of faith, and even to those who are not Christians, for it represents what is expected of us as followers of Christ, but it also presents an expectation for every human person.
A simplified answer to the question “Who is my neighbor?” might be “Your neighbor is anyone you see or know who is in need.” It is much more than the person who lives in your neighborhood, or someone you may know at church or at the office. Equally telling is the response the questioner gave to Jesus when the Lord asked, after sharing the parable, “Which was the neighbor to the robber’s victim?” to which the lawyer responded, “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Pope Francis says, “Let us become agents of Christ’s mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation, and make justice and peace flourish.” That is a call to stewardship.
©Catholic Stewardship Consultants, Inc.