Loving God in my Neighbor
Reading: Luke 10:25-37
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said unto him, “What is written in the law? how readest thou?” And he answering said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” And he said unto him, “Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?” And Jesus answering said, “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He that shewed mercy on him.” Then said Jesus unto him, “Go, and do thou likewise.”
We have all heard the parable of the Good Samaritan. There is a lot to learn about the Kingdom of God there.
The origin of this teaching of Jesus is a question, from the mouth of an interpreter of the Law.
The question is about what to do to inherit eternal life. And Jesus, who knows that the intention of the lawyer is to put Him to the test, responds, “What does the Law say?”
The lawyer answers correctly when he summarizes the Law in “Love God and love your neighbor.”
“Good, now go and do it,” says the Lord. “Love,” says Jesus, “Love God, love your neighbor.” “But how? Who is my neighbor? Who do I have to love? And who can I NOT love?”
And Jesus tells this parable in which the experts in the Law treat the injured man as a subject for discussion; the thieves as an object to exploit; the priests as a problem to avoid; and the Levite as an object of curiosity. Only the Samaritan treated him like a person who should be loved. (Biblia Diario Vivir)
So, what can we learn? We see three principles about what it means to love our neighbor: (1) lack of love is often easy to justify even though it is never good; (2) our neighbor is whoever is in need; race, creed, and social standing aren’t important; and (3) love means doing something to meet the needs of someone. It doesn’t matter where you live, there are people in need around you. There is no justifiable reason to refuse to provide help.
Jesus’ response is easy to understand. We love God by loving our neighbor, and our neighbor whoever is in need.
The Law of the Gospel is Love, and through it, we learn that loving God is loving our friend, and also our enemy. And that already isn’t so easy. Therefore it is necessary for us to be reborn. Only then can we see others the way Christ sees them; only then can we see others as our neighbor.
MEDITATE: We know that God calls us to love; it is a very basic concept. But, how does that love manifest in our relationships with others? The Lord helps us to love!
Translation By: Emily Stader