Windows into the Light by Michael Sullivan

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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Wednesday, March 4

But (the lawyer), desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “and who is my neighbor?”
—Luke 10:29

This question from Luke’s gospel begins the account of the Good Samaritan. Perhaps like no other story in all the New Testament, this story captures the essence of Christ’s good news. A man who had been robbed and beaten was passed on the road by a priest and a Levite. Neither stopped to help.

When a Samaritan, a despised foreigner not expected to show any sympathy to a Jew, stops and has compassion, we see how we are called to act in the world. Even when tradition precludes our actions, God invites us to see all people as our neighbor and to love and cherish all children of God.

But most of us, knowing fully this story, still ask the question, “Who is my neighbor?” We are more concerned with our outward appearance and maintaining our lifestyle than we are with those who are oppressed and in need.

We believe we can’t make a change in homelessness, or affect the future of children born in poverty, and so we become callous to action, even immune to considering those around us. Christ reminds us in this story that all people are our neighbors, and when we fail to see others as our neighbor, we also fail to see ourselves as the people God created and claimed us to be.

In the Lenten journey, we are called to examine our lives fully. We are called to look at the places where we have forgotten to love others, and where we have failed to reach out to those in need. Will it be easy? Will we always be successful? No. But the question who is my neighbor has been answered: everyone.

Dear God, may I begin to know the fullness of your creation, and trusting in your goodness, may I become a Samaritan of your mercy.