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Spiritual Reflection: 7th September 2008

Who is my Neighbour? (Lk 10:29)



Fr. Cheriyan Menacherry CMI



Is the one who is living in the neighbourhood? Are my relatives and friends my neighbours? One may think that the idols in sports and games or in music and film are ones neighbours. Perhaps they are all our neighbours; and to love them is indeed easy.

The man, who was attacked by the robbers on the way from Jerusalem to Jericho (Lk 10:30-37), was neither a relative, nor a 'neighbour', nor an acquaintance, nor a great idol to the Good Samaritan.
The man was a human being in need.
In the real sense, the one who is in need is our neighbour.

And it is not that easy to love this one in need as our neighbour. A great risk is hidden in this love: One is placing an unpleasant demand on oneself to help the needy. One is not unaware of the trouble that will come on the course of helping others. The Good Samaritan had lost his money as well as his precious time. He was aware that he would never get them back. He could never expect some kind of reward from the one whom he had helped. The victim was unconscious, penniless and a stranger.

In front of a Hindu temple in India. A woman tourist had a torn shoe. It was difficult for her to walk without the shoe. A poor woman was selling orange nearby the temple; and she readily extended her helping hand to the tourist: "Please give me the shoe and some money. I'll get it repaired." Thus she went to the cobbler.
The tourist became sceptical about the intentions of the poor woman: "Hopefully, I am not loosing my shoe and money."

One among the tourists made the remark: "You have no trust in that woman. Please think; how much trust the poor vendor has in us? She has left here all she has and has gone only to help you."
With a beaming face came back the poor woman with the repaired shoe. She was very happy, perhaps more happy than she could have sold more oranges.
The poor vendor does not ask "who is my neighbour" but she loved and helped all those who are in need; they are indeed her neighbours.
"You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Leviticus 19:18; Lk. 10:27).


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