In a society characterized by greed and envy, sharing our attention and sacrificing for others is uncommon. We would rather focus on ourselves, rather than attend to the needs of others around us. In the Gospel, when the priest saw a man half-dead, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise when a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Confronted with similar situations, there were times we behave like them, we ignore the needs of others, our eyes seemingly looking beyond into the horizon in an effort to look unaware of what’s going on.
It took a Samaritan traveler who was moved with compassion at the sight to help the man in need. In those times, the Jews and Samaritans treat each other with contempt. Their animosity is such that when referring to the other, they won’t even mention their identity, instead the Jew (in this narrative the scholar of the law) used “…the one” who treated him with mercy, (Lk. 10: 37) instead of simply referring to him as “the Samaritan”.
Loving God then isn’t that easy especially that He is unseen, too superior and beyond our understanding. That’s why the Lord also commanded us to love our neighbor, who is easily within grasp and touch. The difficulty though lies in the fact that we should love not only our friends and families, but also even our enemies, who are our “neighbors” to cover everything that is needed for us to do. The Gospel’s example of the friction between Jews and Samaritans is a good case that Jesus wanted us to understand in relating to the command of loving our neighbor. The example is a good illustration of how loving our neighbor is realized in our day-to-day lives. Human as we are, the condition is difficult but with the grace of God, we can be more like Him: humble, without pride and arrogance; loving, understanding and tolerant of others. We have been taught in class and in Catechism that this is the greatest commandment; it is better to reflect on this again, so that despite the daily pressures that life brings us, we can still look beyond the difficulties and the challenges. Our motivation to love God should be our driver in manifesting our love for others. Only then will it be lighter and more attuned to the will of God in our lives. There’s no other way to go, as this a command, and not just a request from the Lord.
“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.” (Lk. 10: 27)