the neighborhood and the brotherhood
"Who is my neighbor?" —Luke 10:29
Christians believe that all people are called to be brothers and sisters in Christ, but we don't believe all people are brothers and sisters. First, they would have to be baptized into God's family. While not believing that universal brotherhood is the present state of affairs, Christians believe in universal neighborhood. We believe everyone is our neighbor and therefore should be respected, loved, and served. Our neighbors are:
- the man stripped, beaten, and left half-dead by the robbers (Lk 10:30),
- the robbers who beat up the man,
- the priest and the Levite who refused to help the man,
- the Samaritan, that is, our enemies, for Samaritans were enemies of the Jews, and
- the lawyer who questioned Jesus to "justify himself" (Lk 10:29).
Our neighbors are everyone — friend or foe, victim or victimizer, the neighborly or unneighborly.
If we love our neighbors, it's possible they will become our brothers and sisters. "Love never fails" (1 Cor 13:8). "Love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Pt 4:8). If we love our neighbors, we'll tell them about the One Who loves them so much He died on the cross for them. If we truly believe in universal neighborhood, we may see the fulfillment of universal brotherhood. Love your neighbors into God's kingdom.
Prayer: Father, may I love my neighbors so much that I will tell them You want to be their Father.
Promise: "He is the Image of the invisible God, the First-born of all creatures." —Col 1:15
Praise: Praise Jesus, Whose love made us brothers and sisters in Him! "I will praise the name of God" (Ps 69:31).
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet The Truth Will Set You Free.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 18, 2013
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