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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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Ansgar: The “apostle of the north” (Scandinavia) had enough frustrations to become a saint—and he did. He became a Benedictine at Corbie, France, where he had been educated. Three years later, when the king of Denmark became a convert, Ansgar went to that country for three years of missionary work, without noticeable success. Sweden asked for Christian missionaries, and he went there, suffering capture by pirates and other hardships on the way. Fewer than two years later, he was recalled, to become abbot of New Corbie (Corvey) and bishop of Hamburg. The pope made him legate for the Scandinavian missions. Funds for the northern apostolate stopped with Emperor Louis’s death. After 13 years’ work in Hamburg, Ansgar saw it burned to the ground by invading Northmen; Sweden and Denmark returned to paganism. 
<p>He directed new apostolic activities in the North, traveling to Denmark and being instrumental in the conversion of another king. By the strange device of casting lots, the king of Sweden allowed the Christian missionaries to return. </p><p>Ansgar’s biographers remark that he was an extraordinary preacher, a humble and ascetical priest. He was devoted to the poor and the sick, imitating the Lord in washing their feet and waiting on them at table. He died peacefully at Bremen, Germany, without achieving his wish to be a martyr. </p><p>Sweden became pagan again after his death, and remained so until the coming of missionaries two centuries later.</p> American Catholic Blog Every vocation is a vocation to sacrifice and to joy. It is a call to the knowledge of God, to the recognition of God as our Father, to joy in the understanding of His mercy.

 
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