It's a Bible story we usually learn as children. We love the many interpretive angles citizens of Manic Heights will use to mark off our safe zones of interpersonal behavior. In most instances our objectives are as self-justifying as the first century lawyer who asked Jesus "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life??". Evidently he was religiously zealous, a by-the-book orthodox Jew seeking to rationalize his poor treatment of the lower echelons of their ranking system. Of course Jesus announced the two great commandments---loving God totally, and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Simple enough. In the same self-absorbed way, however, the lawyer asked another trick question: "Who is my neighbor?" And, that is the stuff of this great parable. With our many sidebars and schemes we must remember that answering that question is the purpose of the parable. Give it a read---
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to
inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”
And 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 answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied,
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who
stripped him and beat him and departed, 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, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him,
he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and
wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of
him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying,
‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’
Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among
the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go,
and do likewise.”
The answer? The neighbor in this parable is the one who showed mercy to the injured traveler. Yes, seemingly religious people passed the injured man without assistance. The Samaritan, a hated and despised resident, offered care and sustenance to the hurting man. Meaning that even elite religious people aren't always neighborly.
Welcome to Manic Heights. That's our kind of world today. Some of us are too religious or politically correct or culturally isolated to render care to people in need. And, there are plenty of them in Manic Heights these days.
Welcome to the neighborhood. Be a neighbor.
Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_gurb'>gurb / 123RF Stock Photo</a>