Collect of the Week (Proper 16-C)
O Lord, You have called us to enter Your kingdom through the narrow door. Guide us by Your Word and Spirit, and lead us now and always into the feast of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Luke 10:25-37 (From the Bible Story Lectionary)
25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?" 27 And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." 28 And he said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live."
29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30 Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii1 and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" 37 He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise."
Catechism: The Fifth & Sixth Commandments
What is the Fifth Commandment?
You shall not murder.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.
What is the sixth Commandment?
You shall not commit adultery.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.
In the name of T Jesus.
If yesterday’s story of Cain and Abel reminded us that the LORD’s desire is to protect life. Today’s story, the well-known story known as the Good Samaritan—reminds us to protect every life.
Travel across the globe, and you will find that murder is illegal in every country and culture. However, as history has shown us repeatedly, if we can redefine the word neighbor, and limit those who we include in that category, then the LORD’s protection is also limited. During WW2, for example, ethnic Jews, Gypsies, and the mentally disabled were not given the protection due our neighbors because they were allowed to be labeled as “less than human.” Today, even in our own country, the value of a life is judged by some on the basis of a person’s ability to contribute. No longer are secularists debating whether or not there is life in the womb, or in a seriously ill patient; not the question is one of “personhood.” Is that life a “person?”
Of course, if a life is not considered as a person, it will surely not be given the protection due those who we easily see as neighbors. And in this line of thinking, the LORD’s desire to protect life is disregarded, and we sin against him.
And so the story of the Good Samaritan reminds us that Jesus doesn’t allow us to limit the definition of “neighbor,”—or person, for that matter. On the contrary, Jesus expands it, so that there would not be a single person to whom the people of God would deny the love and care due to our neighbors.
Of course, even the Good Samaritan would serve only as a glimpse into the will of God revealed in Christ. For while the Samaritan surely stepped across ethnic and/or religious dividers to love and serve his neighbor, Jesus would step across any all barriers so that He might serve all men. And all the men for whom Jesus would die were by nature His own enemies. For while we were still sinners, Christ died for the ungodly—or in these terms, the non-neighbors! And so, Jesus teaches that everyone, maybe even especially our enemies, are to be considered our neighbors, and worthy of our love and care.
After all, if you struggle with this teaching, and find it difficult to look beyond the differences we have with our fellow man, ask yourself this question: “Is this a person for whom Christ died?” And since Christ has died for the sins of all, then with your eyes on the cross, we might learn how to keep the Fifth Commandment, and to support all of our neighbors in every physical need.
In the name of T Jesus. Amen.
Lord, make me more like You, that I grow in faith and love for my neighbor. May people see You in my actions as I reach out to them with Your love. Amen (TLSB, p. 1735).
Daily Prayer (For Tuesday)
We pray…for deliverance against temptation and evil; for the addicted and despairing, the tortured and oppressed; for those struggling with sin.