November 23rd, 2006
The person who asked Jesus to clarify the definition of the word “neighbour” probably wasn’t expecting to be swamped with a guilt trip, but Jesus let him have it. Nearly everyone has heard the parable of the Good Samaritan, but what does it really mean? It means that you can’t just say that the people who live next door are your neighbours. You don’t discharge your duty to “love your neighbour” simply by smiling every now and then at the people who live down the street. Your neighbour whom you are called to love is, according to Jesus, anyone who is in need.
Luke’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 10
10:1 The Lord then chose seventy other people and sent them two by two ahead of him into every town and place that he was about to visit. 10:2 He told them, “The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the labourers are few. So pray for the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest. 10:3 Go on your way. I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 10:4 Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals. Greet no one on the road. 10:5 Whenever you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ 10:6 If a person of peace is there, your peace will rest on them; but if not, it will return to you. 10:7 Stay in that same house, eating and drinking the things they give you, because workers deserve their wages. Don’t go from house to house. 10:8 When you enter a town and they receive you, eat the things that are set before you. 10:9 Heal the sick, and tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is near.’ 10:10 But when you enter a town where they don’t receive you, go into its streets and say, 10:11 ‘We wipe off against you even the dust from your town that clings to us. Be aware that the Kingdom of God is near.’ 10:12 I tell you, Sodom will be better off on the judgement day than that town.
10:13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 10:14 But Tyre and Sidon will be better off at the judgment than you. 10:15 Capernaum, will you be lifted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to hell.
10:16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me. Whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
10:17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons obey us in your name!”
10:18 He said, “I saw Satan having fallen like lightning from heaven. 10:19 I give you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. Nothing will hurt you in any way. 10:20 But don’t rejoice that the spirits obey you. Instead rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
10:21 Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “Thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from wise and clever people, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, you were pleased to see it happen this way.” 10:22 Turning to the disciples, he said, “Everything has been given to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal him.” 10:23 Turning to the disciples, he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things that you see. 10:24 I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see the things which you see, but didn’t see them, and to hear the things which you hear, but didn’t hear them.”
10:25 A lawyer stood up and tested him, asking, “Teacher, what must I do to earn eternal life?” 10:26 He replied, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” 10:27 He answered, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.” 10:28 Jesus said, “You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live.” 10:29 But the man wanted to justify himself and asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbour?”
10:30 Jesus answered, “A man was travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and left him half dead. 10:31 By chance a priest was travelling that way. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 10:32 A Levite also came to the place, saw him, and passed by on the other side. 10:33 But a Samaritan on a journey came to where he was. When he saw him he was moved with compassion, 10:34 came up to him, and bandaged up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. He put him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 10:35 On the next day, when he left, he took out two denarii, and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him. Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return.’ 10:36 Now which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell among the robbers?” 10:37 He said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
10:38 As they were travelling, he entered a village, and a woman named Martha received him at her house. 10:39 She had a sister called Mary who sat at Jesus’s feet and listened to him. 10:40 But Martha was distracted with many tasks, and she came up and said to Jesus, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister left me to work alone? Ask her to help me out.”
10:41 Jesus answered, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things, 10:42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen it, and it won’t be taken away from her.”
Entry Filed under: Generosity