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Who’s Your Neighbor? — A Reflection

April 14, 2020
Our neighbor!

Who is your neighbor? That question has taken on a whole new meaning as we self-isolate in the wake of the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus pandemic. Much of what we took for granted prior to the pandemic is all of a sudden bubbling up in terms of what is important.

A very dear friend of ours spoke the other day about watching her neighbor’s child bouncing on a trampoline across the street. She was sitting on her front deck after doing some yard work and was watching this young child. I don’t know about her, but I do know that I am noticing the typically small details in a new way. My friend in the picture above has been hanging out in our neighborhood off and on for the past several years. It is always a joy to see him and he seems to be okay with me hanging out with him. Way before Social Distancing became the norm, our Elk and Moose neighbors taught us well!

Before the most recent snowfall, Denise and I were relaxing on our back patio soaking up the sun. This neighbor (pictured below) was hanging out with us as well. In the quietness of the afternoon the magpie was quite entertaining.

So, who is your neighbor? David M Bailey wrote an adaptation of the parable of the Good Samaritan. It takes place in the inner city and the neighbor was a young girl from the neighborhood named Keisha. Here is her story in song: Chico

So, who is your neighbor? In the book Seasons of Celebration: Meditations on the Cycle of Liturgical Feasts, Thomas Merton speaks of the parable of the Good Samaritan had a wonderful take on this parable along with the question “who is your neighbor?”

Christ does not tell the scribe how to judge and classify, but teaches him that classifications are without significance in this matter of love. For we do not and cannot love according to classifications. Or if we do, then we do not love in the full sense of the word. Love is free, and does not need a good object: it can confer goodness that is hidden… For the nature of love is to give as well as to receive… Therefore if love demands first of all to receive a good from its object, before beginning to love, then it can never begin to love. (p. 143)

During these times of stress and isolation so many of us are wondering how we will make it through. So many miss the love and connection with family and friends. Isolation is incredibly difficult. Yet I believe in the midst of it all, we can discover new ways to connect, support, encourage, and love our neighbor. That is our hope… that is our prayer… that is our challenge dear reader. After all, we are still family, neighbors, and friends despite the social distancing. My prayer is that when we get through this difficult time we will have a whole new appreciation for just who is our neighbor.

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