“There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, ‘Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘What is written in the law? How do you read it?’ He said in reply, “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.’ He replied to him, ‘You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.’” (Luke 10: 25-28)
“Secular Franciscans should devote themselves especially to careful reading of the gospel, going from gospel to life and life to the gospel.” (Article 4c, Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order)
Last Friday, on my drive home from work, my car was rear ended by an SUV. After getting over the shock, I got out of my car and faced the driver of the SUV, who turned out to be a teenager, from Maine yet! My car had a crumbled trunk; the SUV only lost its license plate holder. After we had exchanged information, and we were about to drive off, the SUV driver held out his hand to shake mine. In my mind, my first reaction was to step back and yell “Are you sh@#*&g me?” But something stopped me, maybe the Holy Spirit, and I gave him a half hearted handshake.
The scholar in Luke’s gospel asked Jesus “And who is my neighbor?” Our neighbor is not necessarily someone who happens to live next to us, nor is somebody we are friendly with. Our neighbor can that person who makes us feel uncomfortable when he or she sits next to us on the subway. And our neighbor can a scared kid, who just rear ended our car. In whatever the situation, we need to show respect, courtesy, and care.