The African Bishop St. Augustine said this about love: The love of God is the first and great commandment. But loving our neighbor is how we obey it. Since we cannot see God directly, God allows us to catch sight of him through our neighbor. By loving our neighbor, we purge our eyes to see God.” Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) to illustrate this principle. He said, “A Jewish man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half-dead. By chance, a priest came along. But when he saw the man, he crossed to the other side of the road and went on his way. A Temple worker came along. He also looked at the man and passed by on the other side. Then a despised Samaritan came along. When he saw the man, he felt pity for him, went over to him, soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine, and bandaged them. He put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. As he left, he gave the innkeeper money to take care of the man. He promised to reimburse him if the bill ran higher. Jesus then asked the law expert, which of them was a neighbor. The man replied, ‘The one who showed mercy.” “Yes” Jesus said, “Now go and do the same.” Jesus is telling us that a neighbor is anyone in need, and that love is what we do, not just what we say.
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