But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. (Luke 10:29-32)
In Spain the employees left a nursing home because of Coronavirus. The residents had to fend for themselves. Many were found dead in bed by government workers who entered the home to sanitize it. Even if the employees felt endangered because their employer didn’t provide them with safety gear, they could’ve gone to the other side of the street and called emergency services.
Jesus told this story of abandonment by a priest and a Levite. (Aaron was an early Levite whose descendants were to care for the Jewish temple and its people.) Perhaps these men were too scared to help and told God, “You instructed me to love my neighbor, and this man wasn’t my neighbor.”
How can we help when we’re scared? We can dial 9-1-1 for a medical emergency. We can also save a non-emergency police number and call it when someone is stranded. We can keep $5 fast food or grocery gift cards to help the homeless and write on it the telephone number of a church or organization that will help. As we’ll discover, anyone who needs help is our neighbor.
Father God, give me sheep to help and love. If that sheep is a stranger, tell me what to do and keep me safe. Help me be prepared for any situation I can help to show Your love. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.