The expert in the Law wanted to test the Master therefore he asked Him a theological question: “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

The Lord didn’t answer, but replied with another question: “What is written in the Law?” The man answered: “Love the Lord your God…” This is the first commandment which Luke took from Deuteronomy 6: 5, while the second commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself” was taken from Leviticus 19: 18.

Jesus said to the man that came to test Him: “Do this and you will live”. Then, he asked Jesus: “Who is my neighbor?” This wasn’t an easy question for the Jews because they didn’t use to love strangers.

Jesus answered that question with a parable, i.e. a tale, and told him about a Jewish man that was descending from Jerusalem to Jericho and he fell and was hit by robbers. They left him “half dead”.

Two other Jews passed on that road; one was a priest and the other a Levite. Levites were named this way since they came from the offspring of Levi the son of Jacob. Their job was to carry the tent wherever they went and set it wherever they stayed. Those two passed by the wounded man and then a Samaritan – who is from a different race and religion – came. The Samaritan took pity on the man that was thrown on the road.

The question was: Who is my neighbor? The Lord didn’t answer. He replied with another question: “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” Jesus didn’t indicate the “neighbor” of the wounded man, but asked about who became his neighbor? This means that, through love, you would make any person that you serve a neighbor for you.

If you had an act of mercy towards any person, you would become his neighbor. Jesus returned the question: “Who is my neighbor?” The question became: “Who shall I make my neighbor?” This takes us back to the Lord’s words: “Love your neighbor as yourself”.

By noticing the other, serving him and loving him, you would be making him your neighbor. Do not search for a “neighbor” among your relatives or the sons of your village. No human being is created as a neighbor for you. You make him so if you went to him and offered what he needs.

Jesus’ words mean that you should become a neighbor for every person you meet on the road of your life by taking care of his needs.

Spiritual kin is created between hearts through working for the benefit of the other.

It is above all other physical kin and above every benefit. It is a complete giving without asking for anything in return. You do not expect anything from the person that you love. You love him so that he could become closer to his Lord.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “من قريبي؟” –Raiati 46- 11.11.2012