I once celebrated Mass in an upscale subdivision. After the Mass, I was speaking to two couples. Since I realized that they did not know each other, I introduced them to each other. Couple A asked Couple B, “What street do you reside on?”. They realized they lived in the same street. Couple B asked Couple A, “What is your house number?”. They realized they lived across each other. Then they realized that they had something else in common as they even had the same cars. 

Whether we live in the same street across each other or not, the question we can ask ourselves is “Who is my neighbor?”. In one of the most popular Gospels, Jesus gives a story of who our neighbor is, and he uses the example of three good people. Why didn’t the two of the three help? The priest did not help because if he touched a dead body, he would ritually be unclean. Hence, he would not be able perform his duties. The Levite did not help because he thought it was a trick. During those days, many people would pretend to play dead in order to rob others. Ironically, it was a Samaritan, who was the enemy of the Jews, who helped the wounded man.

My dear friends, while we all have our reasons not to help others, there are even more reasons why we should help others. Three of which are as follows:

  1. Helping one person may not change the world, but it will change the world of one person. No matter who we are, there are always people in our minds and hearts that have helped us. Because of that, we have better lives and forever we shall be grateful.
  2. It all comes back.  When we help out, it is not easy. We could be misunderstood, we could be unappreciated and worst of all, there are people who can take advantage of our goodness. The last is the most painful. Yet we should not grieve, as anything that we lose, comes back around in another form. More so, the goodness we have should inspire others, as it always comes around in other forms.
  3. In the end, helping is all that matters. Notice the eulogies and what is often talked about most? The kindness, the help, and the goodness that a person has shown. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Somewhere along the way, we must learn that there is nothing greater than to do something for others.”

In every Mass, we thank the Lord for the people who have helped us especially when we hit rock bottom. What is more interesting is that there people who God sends to be an instrument of His goodness. We too pray that we may be a good neighbor to others. Sometimes, the opportunity to be a “good neighbor” may never come back again.

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