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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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Paul Miki and Companions: Nagasaki, Japan, is familiar to Americans as the city on which the second atomic bomb was dropped, immediately killing over 37,000 people. Three and a half centuries before, 26 martyrs of Japan were crucified on a hill, now known as the Holy Mountain, overlooking Nagasaki. Among them were priests, brothers and laymen, Franciscans, Jesuits and members of the Secular Franciscan Order; there were catechists, doctors, simple artisans and servants, old men and innocent children—all united in a common faith and love for Jesus and his Church. 
<p>Brother Paul Miki, a Jesuit and a native of Japan, has become the best known among the martyrs of Japan. While hanging upon a cross, Paul Miki preached to the people gathered for the execution: “The sentence of judgment says these men came to Japan from the Philippines, but I did not come from any other country. I am a true Japanese. The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the doctrine of Christ. I certainly did teach the doctrine of Christ. I thank God it is for this reason I die. I believe that I am telling only the truth before I die. I know you believe me and I want to say to you all once again: Ask Christ to help you to become happy. I obey Christ. After Christ’s example I forgive my persecutors. I do not hate them. I ask God to have pity on all, and I hope my blood will fall on my fellow men as a fruitful rain.” </p><p>When missionaries returned to Japan in the 1860s, at first they found no trace of Christianity. But after establishing themselves they found that thousands of Christians lived around Nagasaki and that they had secretly preserved the faith. Beatified in 1627, the martyrs of Japan were finally canonized in 1862.</p> American Catholic Blog By way of analogy, we are taught that we all have the same sun shining on us and we all have the same rain falling on us. It is how we deal with sun and rain, how we deal with the happy and the not-so-happy things of life that causes our interior weather. Basically, we do it to ourselves.

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