In Luke chapter 10, the author tells the story of the Good Samaritan, in which a lawyer tried to test Jesus. First, he asked Him what should he do to inherit eternal life. Jesus’ answer, according to Luke, was “to 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 neighbour as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)
But the lawyer did not stop there and pressed on, “Who is my neighbour?” Jesus then told the now renowned parable, in which a Samaritan came to be the lifesaver of a traveller who was robbed and beaten to half dead.
The story is provocative in that, a priest and a Levite passed by the traveller before the Samaritan did. They were people that the Jews held in much higher regard. But, the good act was not carried out by these venerated people, but by a Samaritan to whom the audience consider to be enemy.
Essentially, Jesus turned the question from “who is my neighbour?” into “to whom am I a neighbour?”
Perhaps it’s fitting to apply this parable’s teaching in today’s Hong Kong, a city so divided that some of the “yellow ribbons” and “blue ribbons” are increasingly hostile to each other. If you, just in case, are a “yellow ribbon”, then who may be your neighbour? And in case you are a “blue ribbon”, then who may be your neighbour?
What if you are a police officer? What if you are a protester?
If, one day, you happen to see your neighbour “robbed and beaten to half dead”, will you be moved with pity and show him/her mercy?
And we have the perfect example set by Jesus, who tells us to love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, that we may be children of our Father in heaven (Matt. 5:44-45). He who when suffering on the cross, prayed to the Father to forgive those who put Him there.
For this is the message that we have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, so that His love can be perfected in us (1 John 4:12).
Adapted from the transcript of my Reflections on Peace on RTHK Radio 4 in 2016.