March 12th

Snacks, Anyone?

You shall love your neighbor as yourself. —Mark 12:31

This past year, the Advent calendar our family used suggested, “Make a blanket fort today. Invite in an imaginary enemy. Circle each other… and then offer them snacks.” My daughters LOVED that idea. Upon first read­ing, the younger one was quiet for a moment, then laughed out loud. “I just imagined (the presidential candidate we didn’t vote for) in my blanket fort, and I asked if he wanted to share my Doritos.” That, my friends, is how a child teaches us to love our neighbors as ourselves.

It’s easier to think of some people as my neighbors than others. I wouldn’t have put that candidate in the “enemy” category, but he certainly doesn’t come to mind as my neighbor either. When a man asked Jesus to define who is included under the heading of “neighbor,” Jesus answered with the story of the Good Samaritan. That answer widened the definition far be­yond someone who lives by me, or thinks as I do, or even someone whom I know personally. That means that besides my daughter sharing Doritos with that particular candidate, Jesus asks me to extend the same goodwill to him.

FOR REFLECTION: Which “neighbors” (those whom you have met and those you may never meet) are easier for you to love and to extend good­will toward, and which are harder to love? How might you metaphorically offer to share Doritos with someone in the latter category?