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Who's Your Neighbor? View Comments
By Robert I. Craig

MY WIFE HAS a favorite Gospel story. It’s the one about the woman who, in Matthew and Mark, throws herself down on the ground in front of Jesus and pleads for help, crying out, “My daughter is cruelly tormented by the devil!”

My wife and I have teenaged daughters. We can relate.

All of us can relate to Gospel characters. Their stories could be our own. One story in Luke strikes a chord in me. It’s the one in which a man goes out on a limb to help another man in trouble. The man helps without thought of receiving any thanks, but we’ve been thanking him ever since for his example of love. We know him as the Good Samaritan.

I think of the Good Samaritan often. I imagine his courage each time I cross paths with a man who, despite being the least likely person I’d have thought to have done so, came running one night out of the blue to help me. His appearance at my door gave me immeasurable comfort. It also answered the question posed in Luke 10:29 where a lawyer tries publicly to trip up the Lord. “And who is my neighbor?” the lawyer asks.

This question is as relevant today as it was two millennia ago when asked originally. Yes, our neighbor is on the side of the road, bleeding, as Jesus goes on to describe the victim in his parable. But in our case today, in the current millennium, he’s also the guy right next door.

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Robert I. Craig was a stay-at-home dad for 20 years. He and his wife, Ellen, have been married for 27 years. Their two daughters attend Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio.

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Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows: Born in Italy into a large family and baptized Francis, he lost his mother when he was only four years old. He was educated by the Jesuits and, having been cured twice of serious illnesses, came to believe that God was calling him to the religious life. Young Francis wished to join the Jesuits but was turned down, probably because of his age, not yet 17. Following the death of a sister to cholera, his resolve to enter religious life became even stronger and he was accepted by the Passionists. Upon entering the novitiate he was given the name Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows.
<p>Ever popular and cheerful, Gabriel quickly was successful in his effort to be faithful in little things. His spirit of prayer, love for the poor, consideration of the feelings of others, exact observance of the Passionist Rule as well as his bodily penances—always subject to the will of his wise superiors— made a deep impression on everyone.
</p><p>His superiors had great expectations of Gabriel as he prepared for the priesthood, but after only four years of religious life symptoms of tuberculosis appeared. Ever obedient, he patiently bore the painful effects of the disease and the restrictions it required, seeking no special notice. He died peacefully on February 27, 1862, at age 24, having been an example to both young and old.
</p><p>Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows was canonized in 1920.</p> American Catholic Blog Life is not always happy, but our connections to others can create a simple and grace-filled quiet celebration of our own and others’ lives. These others are the presence of Christ in our lives.


 
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