Prepare to Listen. As you wait in silence and stillness, pray: Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.
Prayerfully Read Luke 10:25-37
25Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 26He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’ 27He 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 neighbour as yourself.’ 28And he said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’ 29But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ 30Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.” 36Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ 37He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’
In response to the lawyer’s test question Jesus countered with a question of his own: What do you read in the law (think Bible)? I wonder how we’d respond. Would we refer to theological statements to believe or moral standards to obey? How many would answer as the lawyer did and get it right? He correctly linked two commands,: “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.” When Jesus affirmed him, he felt the need to justify himself and asked, “Who is my neighbor?”
It seems the lawyer wanted boundaries on who to love and not love. If we’re honest, we’d like to know this too. We live in a culture that’s good at excluding people and we want to be justified in doing so. But Jesus refused to put down boundaries. His parable changed the lawyer’s question from who is my neighbor to am I neighborly? As Tomáš Halík observed, Jesus refused to exclude anyone for any reason. He writes, “When asked who we should consider our neighbor, he inverts the question and tells us: Make everyone your neighbor.” We do this because, Halík maintains, “God happens where we love people, our neighbors.” What matters to God, what we’ll be judged on, has nothing to do with our beliefs and opinions, and everything to do with our love—for God and our neighbor, that is, anyone in need of mercy, as the lawyer discovered. Jesus commanded him to go and show mercy and forget about who’s in and who’s out. Make everyone your neighbor.
Who is your neighbor, the one who needs love and mercy?
Respond to Jesus
Lord, forgive me for often wanting to know who I can exclude from loving. Help me to see all people as my neighbor and show them mercy. Amen.
Live obediently. Make everyone your neighbor.
 Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18.
 Halík, Tomáš. I Want You to Be. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame press. 2016, p. 8.
I began reading my Bible when I was 8 years old. I loved it then (albeit didn't understand much) and I still love reading and studying it. I may understand a little more but I keep learning new stuff, seeing things I missed for years. This journey with Luke during Lent has been another new learning experience for me, deepening my relationship with Jesus. I pray it will do the same for you.