The above quote is the response to a question Jesus asks after sharing the parable of the Good Samaritan. The lesson here is that we are all called by God to care for our neighbor. And who is our neighbor? The question that instigated Jesus’s parable reveals that everyone is our neighbor. Friend, family, stranger, even foe. Everyone. Jesus calls us to love them all. Wow.

It’s a tall order, to understate things. It’s actually impossible without the grace of God. We must allow Jesus to love through us to truly love everyone. We are vessels, ours are willing hearts, or need to be if we are to love as Jesus loves. The one who treated the wounded man who was attacked by robbers and left for dead, he is our role model. He is, of course, Jesus. And this is what Jesus expects of us.

Someone treats you disrespectfully? Love them, just as Jesus did. Oppressed? Persecuted? Love your oppressor, the one who persecutes you, just as Jesus did. A succinct and beautiful description of our mission, our purpose, on this earth, is this: “…we were made by Love, to receive love ourselves, and to show love to others. That’s why we’re here. That’s our purpose.” Those are the words of Charles Chaput. Let’s just sit with those words for a while.

We get to be the merciful one, just like Jesus. We get to be the lover of everyone, just like Jesus. We get to forgive, just like Jesus. And, yes, we will suffer, just like Jesus. But on that glorious day when we see Jesus face to face, and not just in the face of our neighbors, how we can rejoice! How our current suffering will be as nothing. We have that hope of seeing Jesus because we know He is the One who treats us with mercy. Hallelujah!

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