Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:5, and then he quoted Leviticus 19:18, in which he said, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).
He called this the second greatest commandment, and then concluded that “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments (Matthew 22:40).
Saint Luke, an expert in the Law, indignantly asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29). Jesus responded with the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37).
This parable clearly teaches us that our neighbor is the person in need. But that is not the end of the story; there is a twist to it. Jesus asks the lawyer who the true neighbor was to the person in need. The lawyer answered rightly and said, “The one who had mercy [compassion] on him” (:37). In response, Jesus instructed him, “Go and do likewise” (:37).
This parable of the Good Samaritan has built many of the world’s hospitals and provided relief for countless millions. If this parable were truly understood and practiced, it would remove racial prejudice, national hatred, class warfare, and war itself.
It is up to each one of us to love our neighbor just as we would want to be loved ourselves. There are countless ways in which we can love our neighbor.
Consider some of these:
- Volunteer to serve in a church ministry
- Join a service club
- Volunteer at St. Vincent De Paul’s Thrift Store
- Lend a hand at the H.O.S.T. House
- Volunteer at the Library
- Visit an assisted living home
- Call someone and tell them they are special, and be sincere
- Surprise your neighbor and return their garbage cans off the street and to the garage
- Participate in Love Patterson (April 5)
- Walk in the American Cancer Society Relay (May 18)
- Help the Boy Scouts decorate the Patterson Cemetery (May 24)
- Celebrate the annual National Night Out in your neighborhood (Aug. 6)
- Support the PRIDE Fundraiser Bike Ride (Sept. 13)
- Join the Volunteer Fire Dept. Assn. Pancake Breakfast (Oct. 12)
- Attend the Veterans’ Day Public Ceremony (Nov. 11)
- Contribute canned food to the Boy Scouts Nat’l Good Turn Day (Nov. 15)
- Provide a gift for children of incarcerated parents through the Angel Tree ministry (Dec.)
These are just a few ways we can love our neighbors throughout this New Year. Let’s make a difference in Patterson and love our neighbors on a whole new level!
The Rev. Ken Moren is pastor of Family Christian Center. Sermon notes is a column by local religious leaders.