The lawyer in today's Gospel story raises a good question, one that is worthy of more than usual consideration on the part of each one of us. He says to Jesus, "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Notice the answer to this question features the notion of neighbor- who is your neighbor? How do you treat your neighbor? You might be familiar with the document: The Rule of Saint Benedict that appeared in the early part of the sixth century. One important feature is talk about the unique and stunning vision of hospitality. The treatment of the guest is so important that anyone, no matter who that person may be, is to be treated as Christ himself.
The question "Who is my neighbor?" invites us to ponder just how far the limits of hospitality really extend. Relatives? Even the ones we have quarreled with? Friends? Those who have hurt us? Neighbors? Even those who disagree with us? The men who passed the beaten Samaritan on the road had already made their decision about the limits of love. The have chosen to live in a tiny world. Perhaps, it was because they were too "religious" to get their hands dirty. We all have our reasons for not welcoming others, and the best ones often come wrapped with righteousness. Patriotism can be an excuse for whatever aggression we please. A popular saying in the 1960's during the Vietnam War was "My country right or wrong." It helps if we think God is on our side of the road. One thing to remember is that Christ passes no on on the roadside