There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said,
"Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus said to him, "What is written in the law?
How do you read it?" He said in reply,
"You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself."
He replied to him, "You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live."
But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
"And who is my neighbor?"
"A man fell victim to robbers
as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road,
but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place,
and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him
was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim,
poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.
Then he lifted him up on his own animal,
took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins
and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,
'Take care of him.
If you spend more than what I have given you,
I shall repay you on my way back.'
Which of these three, in your opinion,
was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?"
He answered, "The one who treated him with mercy."
Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."
There is something truly beautiful about the parable in today's Gospel. Jesus uses three different types of people as an example, not necessarily as truth, but to give us an idea of what he is talking about as loving our neighbor.
Take us for example, how do we react when we see an accident, or someone who just got beaten up and left for dead. What do we do? Do we stop and offer them help, take care of their wounds! We pretty much have all stopped being a "good samaritan" when people started becoming sue happy.
For us we lost the love of neighbor out of fear of being sued, just for doing an act of kindness. We have come a very long way indeed. Even stopping to offer comfort is out of the question. Or to help change a tire. There are not too many who will do an act of kindness or be a good samaritan out of love of neighbor.
Even though the scholar in today's reading tested Jesus, he answered him correctly. But in his seeking further clarification we have what we are all about. Do we see ourselves in the Gospels, and live it. Are we one of the examples that Jesus uses to point out that no matter what our faith is; if we do not have love of neighbor we really do not have love, as we think we do.
And none of us can escape what we truly avoid, and that is we try so very hard not to love. When we should love with all of our being, how truly happy we all would be.