Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 14, 2019
Cincinnati–my hometown–is a city of neighborhoods. Cincinnatians will tell you that they’re from Clifton or Hyde Park or Delhi or Over-the-Rhine. We think locally, proud of the different neighborhoods we come from.
Today, we hear in the Gospel the familiar story of the Good Samaritan. The key question is: Who is my neighbor? When the Jewish audience first heard this parable there must have been shock: Jesus says a Samaritan—a member of a group the Jews shunned—was neighbor to the man in trouble because he showed mercy. This story fits into one of Luke’s special Gospel themes—the welcoming of the strangers, the outcast, the poor, into the circle of God’s Kingdom. Luke’s missionary community must have faced a special challenge to welcome people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.
Perhaps this is a good Sunday to examine our parish’s hospitality and welcoming attitude. Who is my neighbor? is an important question for every Christian community. Though we may take pride in the history and traditions of our parish, we cannot exclude strangers or newcomers. Rather, we must recognize Christ in the stranger, as we heed Jesus’ command to “Go and do likewise.”