Welcome to the Cathedral Church of Saints Peter & Paul, Clifton.

 

Sunday 14th July 2019
Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Deuteronomy 30: 10-14     Colossians 1: 15-20     Luke 10: 25-37

Distant Neighbours.

When we think of our neighbours our thoughts automatically go to those who live close by us. So perhaps we think of the people next door, the Joneses. Or maybe our neighbours over the water, the French or the Irish. If we’re stretching things we may even think of those animals who are very close to us, like the chimpanzee.

But sometimes our neighbours can be distant. Not that they live a long way off; rather we live side by side with them, but with almost no contact. Sometimes we don’t know who our neighbours are. Maybe we live on a street on which people keep themselves to themselves and we haven’t a clue who lives in which house or which apartment.

Or it could be that some of our neighbours are unable to get out and about. Many elderly or sick people are confined to their homes, and often one partner’s time is consumed totally caring for the other. Single-parent families, families split by divorce or death can become distant neighbours. And quite often this is because we choose not to have much to do with them. Maybe they’re ‘not our sort of people’.

Of course, there are some neighbours we deliberately keep at a distance. They may be involved in things we’d rather steer clear of, or they may just be generally disruptive. However, sometimes we keep people at a distance because they are different from us, and while we make excuses about cultural differences, it’s usually the case that we are just afraid of what might happen if we reach out to them. And although it seems a contradiction in terms to say that the homeless are our neighbours, the truth is that they live close to us all.

The man on his way from Jerusalem to Jericho was mugged, and the person who came to his rescue was not the neighbour he expected. It was a Samaritan… one of those people that everyone keeps at a distance. You never know whose help you might need one day. And as for your neighbour – that’s anyone who needs your help.

 

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Scripture Reflections (below) © Peter J Harrison 2019