We see plainly what they are saying,
but we don’t like what they are saying.
So it is with today’s Gospel. “Who is my neighbor?”
You and I know darn well what Jesus’ answer is.
It is as plain as day.
We know exactly what he’s saying, don’t we?
Does this really need to be explained?
It’s like this. If you are wondering,
“what about that person? Or that person?
But surely, not that person over there?”
You already know the answer, don’t you?
Of course you do! We all do.
Jesus died for absolutely everyone, no exceptions.
He considers everyone his neighbor.
So the rule is: go and do likewise.
The figuring-out part isn’t hard; we’re all there already.
What’s hard is the doing it. The will to do it: the “want to.”
And I can’t really supply that for you.
You know what Jesus wants. You know what he himself did.
And you know, in the depths of your heart,
what sort of person you truly want to be. Me too.
Only the Holy Spirit – at your request – can supply the “want to.”
And by that I mean, to want it enough
that you go beyond just thinking about it, and actually DO something.
Now, here’s a detail from the Gospel that didn’t strike me right away.
We often think about the call to be neighborly, to be generous,
to share our faith,
in terms of going out here and there and everywhere.
And Jesus has told us to do exactly that on other occasions.
But notice in this Gospel, there is no need to go searching.
The person who needs help is right there on the path.
The priest and Levite didn’t need to go even one step out of their way.
In fact, they had to go out of their way to avoid helping the man.
So here’s the point. Maybe you’re wondering,
do I need to go on a mission trip?
Should I go sign up at the soup kitchen in Sidney or Piqua?
To help out with Rustic Hope or the women’s shelter?
Am I supposed to volunteer in Dayton?
Those are all great things to do.
But a good start is to be exactly like the Samaritan:
Be generous with the person who God puts right in your path.
You don’t have to go hunting around.
Just start with that.
Be daring today, and tell Jesus that you’ll do at least that much.