“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor
to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
They may not have been as violent as some gangs of today, but the Jews and Samaritans of Jesus’ time hated each other. Way back in the history of God’s people, the Samaritans didn’t behave according to God’s plan; they got mixed up with other religions. No one expected them to do good things at all.
The story that Jesus tells is of a Samaritan who had compassion on a man beaten and left for dead by the side of the road. Those who ought to have shown compassion, the priest and the Levite, didn’t care. In fact, when they saw the half-dead man, they crossed the road to the other side!
And so for us: we are called to show love to those whom others ignore and pass by. The original question of the lawyer is switched around. It’s not so much, “Who is my neighbor,” but rather, “To whom am I called to be neighbor?” . . .to be close, helping, friendly, and compassionate.
On Sundays we follow the Gospels from the Revised Common Lectionary.
These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook. You will have the entire program of well over a thousand of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.