Luke 10:25-37 My Neighbor

by / Sunday, 06 January 2013 / Published in Lifestyle

The Good Samaritan Painting

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus 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?”

What must I do?  What is written in the law?  A woman I know recently witnessed a horrible accident.  It occurred in a pretty famous water park parking lot.  Two crewmen were preparing to tow a car.  One guy was driving the tow truck.  The other was directing him.  Something went seriously wrong and the tow truck began to push the disabled car into another car; the man directing the entire thing was nearly crushed by the two cars.

The woman who witnessed it went over to the water park employee and said to him, “Maybe you should let the owner of the damaged car know what happened.  Maybe you could announce the license plate over the PA system.”  The young man said, “I’m sorry ma’am but we’re not allowed to do that.”  The woman couldn’t believe what she was hearing.  “Why?” she asked.   The young man said, “Well, we don’t want to give anyone the impression that we are responsible for what happens in the parking lot.”

I’m not breaking any laws.  I’m doing what I’m told to do.  I’m good.

First comes personal honor, then duty.  And when one conflicts with the other, honor must take precedence over duty.
First comes God’s Laws, then man’s laws.  And when one conflicts with the other, then God’s laws must take precedence over man’s laws.
The young man working at the water park is a slave to his employer.  He fears for his job.  He fears losing his job more than he fears losing his conscience.  I can say this because I can relate to him.  We have all experienced his fears!
Love God above all things.  Live by this Commandment and you will never fear anyone or anything again.  For the only time we ever experience fear is when we place someone or something (certain things or certain men) above God.  This is the reason why Love of God is required before Love of neighbor, for how else will I know if I am truly helping my neighbor?
There are those who claim that Christians avoid bad things out of fear of God.  First of all, I disagree.  Christians avoid bad things for love of God.  But even if it were true, then I would say that it is better to avoid evil out of fear of God than to do evil out of fear of men!  Better to fear the Lord than to fear my boss!  Better to fear losing heaven than to fear losing my life, my job, my income or my home.
Who is my neighbor?  In today’s parable, the Lord tells the story of a man who fell victim to robbers and was left half-dead.  Who is this man?  Is he a Jew?  A pagan?  No one knows.  The Lord doesn’t say…and for good reason.  This man represents humanity.  He represents you and me.
We have all been robbed of our dignity.  The media continuously robs us of our dignity.  The internet robs us of our soul.  We have all been beaten and left half-dead by our sins.  I don’t need to read this story in the newspaper.  I know this story.  This story is my very own story!  I am this man!
Who is the Good Samaritan?  Who is this half-Jew and something else?  Who is this mystery man?  It’s obvious.  He is the God-man, the half-Jew and someone else.  Only he can save us.  Only He is willing to pick us up, carry us, and pay off all our debts!  Christ is this man!It’s not easy to be a good neighbor.  It’s so easy to avoid them.  Every morning I open and close the garage door from my car.  Every evening I open and close the garage door from my car.  My neighbors never see me.A few weeks ago I drove out to a camp.  It was almost two hours away.  I thought to myself “Who would help me if I got stranded along the way.  Who would I call?”   I began to think of all the people who always help me, the very generous ones, the ones always taking the initiative.  How unfair of me to ask them!  So then I began to think of all the people who would never expect a call from me, like Bishop Kevin or a staff member.  What would they say?  What would they do?  Would they feel obliged to help me?  That’s not fair!  Finally, I thought, why not call someone who has never had a chance to help me.  Ah, that’s it!  Give someone a chance to be your neighbor.
Who is my neighbor?  Who lives close to me?  It is the Lord.  We know what we need to do.  Moses spelled out:  “If only you would heed the voice of the Lord, your God, and keep his commandments…with all your heart and all your soul.  …For this command that I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you.  …No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out” (Dn. 30:10-14).

Let the Lord be your neighbor, and only then will you be a good neighbor to everyone else.

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