Jesus asked, "Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?" The lawyer replied, "The one who showed mercy." Luke 10: 36-37
Jesus taught that God is ever present, as close as your next breath. God is as close as the next person that you meet on the street. All moments reveal God, and all actions live within God's experience of the world. God is in all tings, and all things are in God.
God is in the wind that blows the trees from side to side. God is in your breath as you inhale and exhale regularly. The ideas of God being present in every thing finds its embodiment in the person of Jesus Christ who exhibited the nature of God in all that he did. Jesus recognized God's healing and transforming presence as the life-giving force in all things.
Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan revealed the true nature of God that lies at the heart of the understanding of God's presence surrounding humans. The boundary between neighbor and stranger is often defined by cultural and social norms, as it was in Jesus' day. Samaritan and Jew were part of the care of God but human structures required that they remain separate and apart from one another. We are one in the Spirit, regardless of differences in age, race, gender, or sexual orientation.
While some passed by the wounded man on the road, refusing to even acknowledge his situation, the Samaritan cared for a person who in other circumstances might have been seen as an enemy. We also live out our vocation in the present moment. Our world is transformed one person and one encounter at a time. The wounded Jew had to accept the love he received from a potential enemy in order to complete the circle of love. When we discover that we need others, the barriers between "us" and "them" are overcome.
Who is your neighbor? Her of she may not be the one you expect your neighbor to be. Where there are no absolute rules for neighborliness, God awakens us to the holiness in each moment.
All persons are my neighbors.
I see God in every encounter.
I reach out in love both to strangers and enemies.
O God of creation, hold all things in your circle of love. Hold me in your circle of love, also, that I may be bold in my loving and creative in caring. Help me to love myself as you love me, and let me love without fear. Amen.