13 July 2013

ABSURD!

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lk 10:25-37 (Dt 30:10-14 / Ps 69 / Col 1:15-20)

Anxious to justify himself, a scholar of the law asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” The man knew the law but his desire for self-justification made him blind to the truth.  We should know better than this pathetic guy.

“And who is my neighbor” is an absurd question.  It is a question that one never asks. Three reasons why:

First, as the Parable of the Good Samaritan clearly points out, everybody is a neighbor to us.  To ask the question “And who is my neighbor?” betrays prejudice against others as they are classified under the heading “Not Neighbors” while favoring others who are listed under the category “Neighbors”.

Second, as the Parable of the Good Samaritan vividly illustrates, the question “And who is my neighbor?” should instead be “And who am I a neighbor to?” because one does not become my neighbor rather I become a neighbor to him.  Thus, after narrating the parable, Jesus answered the lawyer’s question “And who is my neighbor?” with another question: “Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbor to the robber’s victim?”

Third, as the Parable of the Good Samaritan apparently teaches, while everyone is already a neighbor to us, we become a neighbor to someone the moment we approach him and involve our selves with him.  We do not ask the question “And who is my neighbor?” because we discover that it is us who are neighbors to someone when we reach out to him and care for him.  Therefore, the lawyer’s question “And who is my neighbor?” is not something we ask about. It is something we do. It is not an issue we waste time debating over but a call we spend our lives for.

Let us become a neighbor to someone. And remember that someone is, in fact, everyone.

Do this and we shall live.  It is the law of correct functioning.  We were created in the image and likeness of God, who is love; we are therefore created in the image and likeness of love.  If we love, we find our fulfillment.  If we refuse to love, we destroy our selves.  If we love, we live.  If we do not love, we die.  Love is life while hatred and indifference is suicide.  It is as simple as that.

Most probably, the lawyer in the Gospel today was absent when this logic was taught in law school.

“And who is my neighbor?”  Absurd!

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