This will be a short post, as I am just back from vacation.
The Gospel reading this week is the story of the Good Samaritan. As so often happens, this story has been misnamed. The main character (the only one who shows up in each episode) is the man among the robbers. We are supposed to identify with the main character, not the the minor character. Who is my neighbor? The person I can’t stand who helps me out when I’ve been beaten. Go and do likewise. What does that mean in this context? Accept help from those I can’t stand? Offer aid to those who can’t stand me? I suppose both.
Both, however, presuppose a situation in which I rub elbows with people I can’t stand. What was that Samaritan doing on his way to or from Jerusalem, anyway? Luke doesn’t answer THAT question. Gated communities are meant to keep out those we can’t stand, but the phrase becomes an oxymoron. It’s no longer a community if the Samaritans aren’t there. The moral of the story is that community is only possible when I’m put in a position of swallowing my pride to accept help; otherwise I go on believing I’m fine without you, thank you very much.
So, loving neighbor as self requires being willing to accept help. That’s the hard part.