09 July 2016

LOVE KNOWS NO BARRIERS

XV SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
deuteronomy 30:10-14; colossians 1:15-20; luke 10:25-37

last weekend, dhaka witnessed a savage terror attack which claimed the lives of 20 people. one of those was faraaz hossain, a bangladeshi muslim. the terrorists gave the 20-year-old the option of leaving the holey artisan bakery; he refused after the terrorists denied his friends—abinta kabir, a bangladeshi-american, and tarishi jain, an indian—the same opportunity. he stayed to be with his friends, and injuries on his body suggest he fought back to protect them. hossain’s love knew no barriers.
cut to bangalore, and to dr devi shetty and narayana hrudayalaya. patients come from several countries; three/four children from bangladesh every day, and one child a week from pakistan. dr shetty says: «pain has no language… reaction to pain and suffering is the same, so our reaction to the problem is also the same.» 


in essence, through the parable of the good samaritan, this is what JESUS tells the scholar of the law who asked him: «who is my neighbour?» 
love knows no barriers. love reaches out to anyone in need. it doesn’t walk on by. it stops to help. it gets involved, regardless of who the person is, and regardless of the cost. this is exactly what the unlikely hero of the parable does. the samaritan goes beyond the boundaries of religion and nationality; he reaches out to the wounded man in need. he stops to help, gets involved in the life of the «man», and spends time with him.
it is striking that JESUS gives the «man» no name, no religion, no nationality… in times of need, these are irrelevant. further, he reverses the question: it is not important who my neighbour is, but to whom am i a neighbour! 

how do we respond to people in need: are we moved with compassion and do we reach out to help… or do we walk on pretending they don’t exist?
in an era when we build «gated communities» with religious, ethnic and racial, social and economic fences, JESUS challenges me to live the commandment of love by going beyond all barriers… and to build his kingdom as a neighbourhood with no frontiers.
who is my «neighbour» in the week ahead?