May 14
‘He had compassion on them and healed their sick.’ Matthew 14:14b
Bible reading: Luke 10:25-37 (Go to the Bible passage)
When God tells us that we must love our neighbor - and we know what God means by love - we might try to justify ourselves by asking the interesting question, ‘And who is my neighbor?’
Are the people in distressed areas on the other side of the world my neighbors, or is the person next-door more so? There are many people who like to pray for poor victims of wars and disasters. Now, of course, this is important, but why are we often much more reluctant to pray for our next-door neighbor?
It is - indeed - much easier to pray for people on the other side of the world than it is to pray for the people living next-door. For if we pray for those far-away people we can hardly do more than donate some money. But when we genuinely start praying for our next-door neighbor, we might be given the task of devoting ourselves to him. Of course, it is possible that God makes us a neighbor of people at the other end of the world by our prayers for these people. But then we cannot possibly stay at home, for we will find no peace until we start serving them with our life.
Therefore the question ‘and who is my neighbor?’ is a wrong question.
Besides, Jesus did not answer it in this parable! According to human standards, the priest and the Levite should have been the neighbors of this mugged Jew. But they thought of their position and did not want to be defiled. They valued rank and status above showing mercy.
Jesus makes it very clear to us here: We are someone’s neighbor when, for the love of Jesus, we are moved with compassion for him and show him mercy.
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