Sunday, October 07, 2012

"And who is my neighbor?"

"And who is my neighbor?" 

October 8, 2012
Monday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Am I now currying favor with human beings or God?  Or am I seeking to please people?  If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.  Galatians 1:10

"And who is my neighbor?"  Luke 10:29b


Do you know your neighbors—whether people who live on your street or work in the cubicle next to yours?  Cursillo teaches us that we have to be friends with others before we can bring them to Christ. 
Father, help us to be stewards dispensing your holy hospitality to all who seek it and those in need who are not seeking it. Amen.


Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.  The Gospel delivers the former.  The First Reading delivers and example of the latter.
Do we really try to persuade others with the truth of the Good News?  Or do we want to sugar coat the Word as handed down and lived by Jesus? 
It's easy to treat the family next door as your neighbor.  We see them every day.  They keep their clothes clean, their grass cut and their car(s) shined.  We see them at holiday parties and smile when they leave for work or when we return home from the grocery store.  We watch out for each other when travelling.  Check the mail.  Feed the pets. 
But hospitality is hard when the other is one who is not so familiar.  What if they are dirty from living on the street?  What if their clothes smell because they don't have facilities for laundry?  What is they are sick or have sores on their skin?  To these ones, hospitality is a bit harder but we still remember them with gifts of the flotsam and jetsam of suburban life.  We give a little money.  We donate our used clothes.  We pack up dinner on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
But what about the faces of those poor children that Alyssa Milano and Sally Struthers plead for on television?  They are only asking for two quarters.  Surely we have a mayonnaise jar or piggy bank with more than that counted among our rainy day saving. We respond there as well…but not out of the money we are setting aside for our comfortable retirement.
Now, what about those who are our proverbial enemy?  The Chinese?  Those from Arabic/Middle Eastern countries?  People residing in the "-stans?" (Uzbekistan, Kurdistan, Afghanistan, et. al.)  Are we as quick to help those who are less familiar, who don't look like us, who don't live among us?


The lesson of the Good News to the scholar teaches him a new lesson.  If you are reading this, chances are, you sat in a church for at least an hour today.  What lesson did the readings have for you?
Who will you treat with mercy today?  Who will treat you with mercy?
These days, we can delude ourselves into thinking that we can "Find Friends" with the click of a mouse button.  However, the Gospel does not call on us to be casual, click-thru friends.  We are called to be "Slaves of Christ."  That, my friends, is deeper than Facebook and closer than you can get by counting lines of longitude.

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