Today we have a religious lawyer ( or canon lawyer in today’s parlance) wanting to find out who is and who is not to be regarded as his neighbour.
Remember that this is a follow up on the question he asked Jesus – “what is the greatest commandment?” The answer to which was to ‘love God and your neighbour.’
You can see the lawyer’s frame of mind.
Firstly; To him not everybody was his neighbour and therefore there was no obligation for him to love or care for them. The obligation was only towards those he regarded as his neighbours.
To get the message across Jesus picked the most despised people in the eyes of the Jews – the Samaritans. Even these despised and hated ones were neighbours and are fully deserving of our love and care.
Secondly; The lawyer was concerned only for himself – how he could fulfil the law with the least inconvenience to himself. For him, compassion for the suffering or needs of others did not enter into the equation.
Let us put this parable into today’s situation and language. For the lawyer read you and I. For the man who fell into the hands of brigands read asylum seekers, refugees and migrants. For the Samaritan who rescued and cared for the unlucky traveller, read the ship’s captain Carola Rackete who rescued 40 migrants at sea and brought them safely to port.
The authorities of the so called Christian country of Italy had her promptly arrested and imprisoned. The Samaritan who helped in Jesus’ parable was not arrested and imprisoned. What does that say for so called ‘Christian Europe today’ ?
Where do I truly stand in this matter?
What of the political turmoil we are presently experiencing these days in our own country and throughout Europe? Is not the root cause racism, xenophobia and narrow minded and destructive nationalism?
Or have I totally misread the situation?