WHO IS YOUR NEIGHBOR?
Jesus asks, "'Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers' victim?' He answered, 'The one who treated him with mercy.'"
Our heavenly Father is all-loving and compassionate. In today's Gospel Jesus tells a dramatic story in response to a scholarly man who wants to understand how to apply God's great commandment of love to his everyday life circumstances. This man asks, "Who is my neighbor" (Lk 10:29)? Jesus must have been smiling as He hears this man challenge Him to explain one's responsibility towards his neighbor. The Jewish law of love was plain and simple: "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" (Lk 10:27).
The real issue for this man is the definition of who is "my neighbor." He understands "neighbor" to mean one's fellow citizen who belongs to the same covenant that God made with the people of Israel. Jesus agrees with this sincere man but, at the same time, He challenges him to see that God's view of neighbor goes far beyond his narrow definition. Jesus tells a parable to show how wide God's love and mercy is towards every fellow human being. That's the bottom line!
In the Responsorial Psalm we acclaim, "The Lord will remember His covenant forever. Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them" (Ps 111:2, 5) and with these works may we be faithful and just toward all. We are called to live a Gospel life each and every day. Jesus asks the man this question after His story today, "'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'" (Lk 10:36 - 37).