Who Is Your Neighbor? An Answer Found in the Chartres Cathedral

“Who is my neighbor?” Our answer determines the health of our communities and the world community. Jesus answered this question in the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:26-37 see below for the full text). All who take time to ponder the Good Samaritan window in the Chartres Cathedral in France come face to face with the question of how they respond to others in great need. As you look at the thirteenth century stained glass images of this story,  ask yourself, “Who is my neighbor? How can I care for those in need?”

A lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  

Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 

The lawyer answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”

But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”

He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” 

Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Luke 10:26-37 NRSV


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