But who is my neighbor? We often respond to that question by saying: "My neighbors are all the people I am living with on this earth, especially the sick, the hungry, the dying, and all who are in need." But this is not what Jesus says. When Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan (see Luke 10:29-37) to answer the question "Who is my neighbor?" he ends by asking: "Which ... do you think, proved himself a neighbor to the man who fell into the bandits' hands?" The neighbor, Jesus makes clear, is not the poor man laying on the side of the street, stripped, beaten, and half dead, but the Samaritan who crossed the road, "bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them ... lifted him onto his own mount and took him to an inn and looked after him." My neighbor is the one who crosses the road for me!
For further reflection...
"A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was, and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him..." - Luke 10: 31-34a (NIV)
This post was written by Henri Nouwen. You can find his blog at http://www.henrinouwen.org