“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus tells the legal expert in our scripture passage that he has the right answer, but the man still has more questions. Jesus is always ready to answer us, but we are often blind to what He has already taught us or willfully ignorant. While this story began with the man testing Jesus, the situation is changing.
We hear the wisdom and love Jesus gives us, but we are sometimes unable to make it fit our view of ourselves and our world – and that is our problem. Instead of fitting the teaching into our understanding, we must put ourselves into what we have heard, accepting the love and responsibility that goes with that gift. This is what we are called to do, changing our hearts and lives based on His example.
Like Peter asking how many times to forgive (Matthew 18:22), we want specifics, a limit after which we are free to ignore the teaching. The legal expert asks “who is my neighbor” to determine where the line is drawn. Jesus doesn’t allow that option, and leads us to see that like Him, our love and forgiveness must be infinite.
Loving Lord, we have been taught to love You and our neighbor as ourselves. Help us to see everyone as a brother or sister in Christ, loving the world as You do. Amen.