July 10, 2016 — Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Go and do likewise.” Can there be a more simple instruction from our Lord and Savior Jesus? With these words, He closes the Parable of the Good Samaritan, which is at the heart of our Gospel reading for today. That parable was inspired by the question, “Who is my neighbor?”
That parable may be the most familiar to people of faith, and even to those who are not Christians, for it represents what is expected of us as followers of Christ, but it also presents an expectation for every human person.
A simplified answer to the question “Who is my neighbor?” might be “Your neighbor is anyone you see or know who is in need.” It is much more than the person who lives in your neighborhood, or someone you may know at church or at the office. Equally telling is the response the questioner gave to Jesus when the Lord asked, after sharing the parable, “Which was the neighbor to the robber’s victim?” to which the lawyer responded, “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Is it any wonder that Pope Francis has declared this a Year of Mercy? What he expects of us is what Jesus expects from us. The Holy Father says, “Let us become agents of Christ’s mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation, and make justice and peace flourish.” That is a call to stewardship.