Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers? He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “Go, and do likewise.” (Luke 10:36-37)
Heavenly Father, few parables are as easy to understand as the story of the good Samaritan. And yet, few commandments are as difficult to practice as “love your neighbor.” It is very challenging to love all of the people around us, especially if they wish us harm.
It’s natural to not trust new people. We all create cultural structures that give us security and comfort, mostly so we know who “we” is and who “they” is. It’s become natural for us to shame, to “other,” to judge. Help us, Mother, to love our neighbors.
Help us to love our neighbors in West Africa, specifically Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria, as they struggle with the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history, a crisis so large the UN does not have the resources to fight it.
Help us to love our unemployed neighbor, our radically religious neighbor, our deployed neighbor, our homosexual neighbor.
Help us to love our neighbors in Germany, where they will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which physically separated friends and families.
Help us to love our neighbors who just had another baby, a miscarriage, or an abortion.
Help us to love our neighbors in Mexico City, where protesters march about the pace of investigations on the whereabouts of 43 missing student teachers.
Help us to love our neighbors who work in hospitals and clinics that care for very ill or very infectious patients.
Help us to love our neighbors in Iraq, where about one-third of the country is battling or controlled by the Islamic State, but where the terrorist group’s progress has stalled due to recent airstrikes.
Help us to love our homeless neighbors and our neighbors who have more property than we do.
Help Americans to love their neighbors who vote differently from them. In a recent, very divisive national election, about half of the population was thrilled with the outcomes and about half of the population was devastated.
Help us to love our neighbors who do not look, eat, smell, or act like us.
Help us, God, to go and do likewise.