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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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John of Capistrano: It has been said the Christian saints are the world’s greatest optimists. Not blind to the existence and consequences of evil, they base their confidence on the power of Christ’s redemption. The power of conversion through Christ extends not only to sinful people but also to calamitous events. 
<p>Imagine being born in the 14th century. One-third of the population and nearly 40 percent of the clergy were wiped out by the bubonic plague. The Western Schism split the Church with two or three claimants to the Holy See at one time. England and France were at war. The city-states of Italy were constantly in conflict. No wonder that gloom dominated the spirit of the culture and the times. </p><p>John Capistrano was born in 1386. His education was thorough. His talents and success were great. When he was 26 he was made governor of Perugia. Imprisoned after a battle against the Malatestas, he resolved to change his way of life completely. At the age of 30 he entered the Franciscan novitiate and was ordained a priest four years later. </p><p>His preaching attracted great throngs at a time of religious apathy and confusion. He and 12 Franciscan brethren were received in the countries of central Europe as angels of God. They were instrumental in reviving a dying faith and devotion. </p><p>The Franciscan Order itself was in turmoil over the interpretation and observance of the Rule of St. Francis. Through John’s tireless efforts and his expertise in law, the heretical Fraticelli were suppressed and the "Spirituals" were freed from interference in their stricter observance. </p><p>He helped bring about a reunion with the Greek and Armenian Churches, unfortunately only a brief arrangement. </p><p>When the Turks captured Constantinople in 1453, he was commissioned to preach a crusade for the defense of Europe. Gaining little response in Bavaria and Austria, he decided to concentrate his efforts in Hungary. He led the army to Belgrade. Under the great General John Hunyadi, they gained an overwhelming victory, and the siege of Belgrade was lifted. Worn out by his superhuman efforts, Capistrano was an easy prey to an infection after the battle. He died October 23, 1456.</p> American Catholic Blog When we are linked by the power of prayer, we as it were, hold each other’s hand as we walk side by side along a slippery path; and thus by the bounteous disposition of charity, it comes about that the harder each one leans on the other, the more firmly we are riveted together in brotherly love. —St. Gregory the Great

 
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