Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan and the crime victim as a response to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” In doing so, he shifts the focus of attention from neighbor as object to neighbor as subject. The lawyer wants to know who (out there) is his neighbor. Knowing the definition of neighbor will help him understand the scope and limits of his responsibilities. By implication, if some people are my neighbors, other people are not.
Jesus holds up a mirror on the one asking the question: “Neighbor” is not about identification but about action. The question is no longer “Who is my neighbor? but “Who acted as a neighbor?” The question is no longer “Who is my neighbor?” but “Am I being a good neighbor?”
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