Neighborliness Is a Great Starting Point
Today reminds us of the vital importance of neighborliness. It’s more than just being nice. It’s the foundation of holy living. As we will see in our readings this morning, God intends for us to walk in this world with eyes open to the needs of others and our hearts responding by caring for the needs of our neighbors.
What would change if we spent the next week seeking to be good neighbors like Jesus cared for his neighbors – especially the weak, hurting and those who feel left out of the equations for success, popularity or significance in our culture?
Let us hear the command to be good neighbors today and these next several days, extending ourselves in loving action for those who need our time, attention, love and compassion.
Friday, October 30, 2020
O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.
Psalm 62:2-4, 6-9
In God alone is my soul at rest,
my salvation comes from the Lord.
God alone is my rock, my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not greatly falter.
How long will you attack one alone,
break down your victim,
as you would a tottering wall,
or a tumbling fence?
Be at rest, my soul, in God alone,
from whom comes my hope.
God alone is my rock, my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not falter.
In God is my salvation and my glory,
my rock of strength;
in God is my refuge.
Trust at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to God, our refuge.
Glory to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
As ever before, so now and forevermore. Amen.
A Reading from Deuteronomy 22:1-4 & Luke 14:1-6
“You shall not see your neighbor’s ox or sheep going astray and ignore it; you must bring it back. If this neighbor does not live near you, or you do not know who the owner may be, take it to your own house and keep it with you until your neighbor claims it; then return it. You shall do the same with a donkey; you shall do the same with a garment; and you shall do the same with anything else which your neighbor loses and you happen to find. You may not ignore them.
You shall not see your neighbor’s donkey or ox fallen on the road and ignore it; you must help in lifting it up.” – Deut. 22
“On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy. Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?” But they kept silent; so he took the man and, after he had healed him, dismissed him. Then he said to them, “Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern, would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?” But they were unable to answer his question.” – Luke 14
Reflection: What Would Jesus See?
Paul prays for “perception” for the Philippians, that they may “discern what is of value.” Perception is also one of the themes of the Gospel.
Both Jesus and the Pharisees knew the laws that governed the observance of the Sabbath. They could have recited many of them in unison. But they differed significantly in their perception of those laws. Many of the Pharisees viewed the laws within the context of obedience to God. Jesus, while respecting that framework, viewed the laws within the broader context of God’s love and compassion—which we are called to emulate. This perception moved him to cure even on the Sabbath.
The familiar question, “What would Jesus do?” presupposes another one: “What would Jesus see?” How would he perceive this person, this situation, this event? And it suggests we should regularly appraise the way we are perceiving things. What things? Everything, really. Our loved ones, strangers, the latest news headlines, prayer, pain, time, and the beauty and mystery of the natural world—from our own unique and precious gift of life to the vastness of the cosmos. Then we ask ourselves: Is our perception rooted in love? Is it shaped by the Gospel? Is it aligned with the perception of Jesus?
May our prayer be this: Perceptive Jesus, help me to notice things today . . . to really see them . . . “to discern what is of value” and to act always within the context of love and compassion. Amen.
Sr. Melannie SvobodaMost materials in this Daily Prayer resource are from Give Us This Day, October 2020 – a prayer resource for the Church.
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