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 10:29-37
“Who is my neighbor?”
It’s a question that’s on a lot of people’s minds, even if they don’t realize it. The debate for immigration reform is a divisive issue, especially when concerning refugees. We can’t build a giant wall on our borders, but at the same time, we still have to be aware of our country’s safety.
I think the answer to this debate can be found in today’s passage from the Gospel of Luke. The Samaritan is technically a “foreigner” helping out a Jew and the two groups didn’t get along at the time. However, the Samaritan was generous enough to help the man beaten up by robbers and pay for the man’s lodging.
Working abroad is a huge aspect of Filipino culture. Many Filipinos go off to many countries around the world to be housekeepers, caretakers, nurses, or some other form of labor. I remember watching Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown as he met a woman who used to be the nanny for one of his co-workers. This woman spent decades taking care of other children, but at the cost of leaving behind her own kids. It’s hard to imagine that kind of sacrifice. Even so, the work she did made a difference. Not only did she provide for her family, but she also touched the lives of the children she took care of.
I’m not a politician, nor will I ever have the desire to get involved in a political debate. However, if someone were to ask me for my opinion on immigrants and refugees, I think that we should take care of our foreign neighbors in need. If there are people with families willing to work hard to support the ones they love, I think we need to help them on that path, to help our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. And that includes non-Christians because God created them.
We are many parts. We are all one body.
To Jesus through Mary-Monique Ocampo