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.” – Luke 10:29-37
If I were to ask you who do you imagine or aspire yourself to be in the story of the Good Samaritan, my sense is—as followers of Jesus—you would answer the Samaritan. In fact, as followers of Jesus, it is the only choice, as Jesus is clear: “You go, and do likewise.”
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:28-31
As in the story of the Good Samaritan, when Jesus is asked about one’s disposition with one’s neighbor in sighting the Great Commandment, he is clear that nothing short of love of neighbor is expected.
With Jesus’ irrefutable clarity on how we are called to live with our neighbors in the world, the question before us is, how do respond to the incredible crises happening at our southern borders? The answer to this question, in my mind, is not a political one, but rather Biblical. Jesus, throughout scripture, is unequivocally clear that we are to take care of our neighbors . . . especially the most vulnerable.
“Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?” And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” – Matthew 25:37-40
Our sisters and brothers, especially the youngest, are hungry, thirsty, sick. They are strangers and they are our neighbors. I invite you to prayerfully consider as a follower Jesus how you might be a Good Samaritan and love your neighbor. Here are some possibilities:
The Dioceses of Texas and the Rio Grande have partnered with Catholic Charities to aid families and children. You can support this work by purchasing items from the Amazon Wish List, which will be shipped directly to Catholic Charities.
Money can be donated directly to the Diocese of the Rio Grande to support their work at the border.
For those of us hoping to deepen our engagement and advocate for all migrants in need of protection (asylum-seekers, refugees, and others), I invite you to explore the Partners in Welcome learning community and ministry network of Episcopal Migration Ministries and dream of ways you might become a Partners in Welcome member as an individual or as a congregation.