Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”
But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’
Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Sometimes even basic equations are tough to balance.
Love of God + Love of neighbor = Eternal life
All our heart, soul, strength, and mind? All our neighbors? Not there yet Lord…
Do we still qualify for eternal life?
God promises the answer is ‘yes’ if we do what is asked of us…
to love God and to love our neighbor…
Jesuit Gustavo Gutierrez reflected on the Spanish translations for neighbor – vecino (a person living nearby) and prójimo (our shared humanity) – to make a point about loving others.
The Good Samaritan encountered a person left for dead. The authentically human response in that or any moment was to love the other. He cared for someone he did not know because he saw himself in the other and could do nothing less. “Go and do likewise,” said Jesus.
How ready are we to respond likewise to the people we encounter today?
—Fr. Mark Luedtke, SJ, completed his term as president of Loyola High School in Detroit and will soon leave for his tertianship experience in Cape Town, South Africa
Lord Jesus, give me the courage to respond as you would respond, with love and compassion. Help me put my humanity into relationship with the humanity of others, to feel what they feel, to suffer what they suffer and, in being truly with them, to allow us together to find our way into life eternal – a life of love, total and complete love. Amen.
—Fr. Mark Luedtke, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!