“Love your neighbour as yourself” the Gospel says (Matthew 22:38). But who is my neighbor? We often respond to that question by saying: “My neighbours are all the people I am living with on this earth, especially the sick, the hungry, the dying, and all who are in need.” But this is not what Jesus says. When Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan (see Luke 10:29-37) to answer the question “Who is my neighbour?” he ends the by asking: “Which, … do you think, proved himself a neighbor to the man who fell into the bandits’ hands?” The neighbour, Jesus makes clear, is not the poor man laying on the side of the street, stripped, beaten, and half dead, but the Samaritan who crossed the road, “bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them, … lifted him onto his own mount and took him to an inn and looked after him.” My neighbour is the one who crosses the road for me!

emphasis mine


On the Path to Jericho

On the path to Jericho,
I’m plagued by uncertainty,

“Is the man wearing a top coat
my neighbor?”  A girl nudges me,

startles me with gentleness.  We dance.
And the way she tells the story,

no one dances alone.  “Include
is a verb,” she explains.

“Am I wearing the clothing of a liar?”
I ask.  Thankfully, she does not answer.

from Seriously Dangerous (Main Street Rag, 2011)