"Who is your neighbor and what are you doing about it?"

By Paul Dion, STL

"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." (Luke 10; 27)

We have all heard the old saw, "You can choose your friends but you can't choose your relatives." As a matter of fact, we can't choose our neighbors either.

Just who are these people? How do we get to love them? Why do we even have to love them? If we love them, how do we prove that we love them?

We believe that love begets love and we observe that some of the love that we put out to some of our "neighbors" has not begotten love in return. As a matter of fact, some of the love that we have put out to some of our very own relatives has not begotten love in return.

We read the story as told by Luke in the gospel quote above and the thing that is striking here is that Jesus Himself throws the challenge back on to the conscience of the questioner, "...which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers' victim?" Jesus then tells the questioner to "...go and do likewise."

We too know that the answer to the question lies on our conscience. So, answer the Burning Question: Who is your neighbor and what are you doing about it?


  1. Dennis Sheahan9:00 AM

    In the the context of the Gospel directive my neighbor is the person God has given me to serve in His Name. I remember being asked by a person in a 12 step recovery program; "What problem or character defect should I deal with first?" He had been told to go back to his childhood and start from the beginning. My suggestion was ( and remains) " Deal with the issue that's standing on your toes and spitting in your face." The same idea applies to helping others. Bobby Earle a TV screen writer and frequent speaker on issues of co-dependency, talking about the confusion some people have about what is co-dependence and what is christian charity, said:
    " When you come upon a person in need youc annot tell if helping would be co-dependent or charitable from the front end, so you must offer the help you can. When you have done so, is you are satisfied having done the good deed, that is if the act were its own reward then you have been charitable and approriate. If on the other hand you feel cheated because there in no reward or acclamation coming your way you were being co-dependent and need to study you motives." When I am given the opportunity to be of service to one of God's children, my brothers and sisters, and I accept that opportunity I am always grateful. Alas, I must confess I get more chances so to do than I acceptbut, with God's grace I am working on that.
    "Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love, show us how to serve the neighbors we have from you....Neibhbors are rich and poor, neighbors are black and white, neighbors are nearby and far away."

  2. Laurence Gonzaga6:59 PM

    If you are volunteering because you like helping out with social concerns, then these are works with human merit, but no salvific merit. So, I suppose the question is what is "nobility"? But, if one is doing something for the greater glory of God, motivated by His grace, and nothing else, then this is certainly nobler than a self-serving intent. Furthermore, motivated by grace, methinks the secular volunteerism is nobler, because it brings the light of Christ to people, palces, communities, and contexts where the light of Christ doth not shine, yet.

    In season, out of season...

    Ad majorem Dei Gloriam.
    Laurence Gonzaga