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October 9, 2017 - We Are All Neighbors

Monday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

When I read the Book of Jonah, I am always encouraged.  Jonah was chosen by God to be a prophet but simply cannot accept his commission. Ironically, in his attempt to flee from the Lord, Jonah ends up being cast into the sea precisely because he declares himself a Hebrew and worships the one Lord God. Jonah saw the men on the ship being tossed about on the raging sea as his neighbors. He was willing to be tossed overboard to save them from what he saw as his own personal rejection of God's will for him.

In today's Gospel passage, Jesus relates the story of the Good Samaritan to a scholar who asks, 'And who is my neighbor?' The Good Samaritan passed no judgment on the ailing victim he came upon—no contingencies were involved. He saw only a neighbor in dire need and immediately acted out of compassion and mercy.

We are blessed with countless opportunities to love our neighbor at every waking moment. Every encounter with a human being is precisely that—an encounter with a neighbor. This is what Jesus tells us. The hesitations or judgments or rationalizations that interfere with our God given ability to reach out can surely be overcome by the grace of the Spirit. Even those we perceive as enemies are still neighbors in the eyes of God, the one true God who never discriminates. Today, may we consciously set our minds to see as God sees. Let us meet each human being as our neighbor and extend to them only that which God extends—love, mercy, and compassion.

-Gail Lyman