Who is my neighbour?
In keeping with our Knox, Neighbours, Next strategic plan, this week’s reading from Mark’s gospel about the love of neighbour and the love of God and self being irrefutably intertwined in Mark’s gospel speaks volumes about a new understanding of this question.
Here is how Fred Buechner, in his book "Wishful Thinking (A Seeker's ABC), defines NEIGHBOUR:
“When Jesus said to love your neighbour, a lawyer who was present asked him to clarify what he meant by neighbour. He wanted a legal definition he could refer to in case the question of loving one ever happened to come up. He presumably wanted something on the order of: “A neighbour (hereinafter referred to as the party of the first part) to be construed as meaning a person of Jewish descent whose legal residence is within a radius of no more than three statute miles from one’s own legal residence unless there is another person of Jewish descent (hereinafter to be referred to as the party of the second part) living closer to the party of the first part than one is oneself, in which case the party of the second part is to be construed as neighbour to the party of the first part and one is oneself relieved of all responsibility of any sort or kind whatsoever.”*
Buechner goes on to point out that our neighbour is anybody who needs us.
Thanks, Fred for that timely reminder!
Blessed Be and May it be so.
The First Commandment
28 One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; 33 and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’—this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.
*Wishful Thinking (A Seeker's ABC), Revised and Expanded, Copyright 1973, 1993, Harper One, p. 78