In the gospel today the lawyer wanted to have a shortcut to eternal life. Jesus doesn’t have anything new except that which is in their own law. He asks the lawyer to look into the law, which he was practicing. The lawyer finds the correct law point and the requirement, which is to love God and his neighbor; Jesus tells him to observe this law and he would attain eternity.

In the scenario here, the lawyer and Jesus were not necessarily thick as friends. As the lawyers usually behave, often with the presumption that they know everything about the law and the other is not that well versed, he puts a question to Jesus as to who his neighbor is. In answer we have one of the most beautiful stories of Jesus.

That might have been the final question in the quiver of the lawyer. In the whole of Jesus’ teaching we have a greater reason to see in this stranger who was wounded a relationship stronger than that of just a neighbor. He is a brother to us because he and we are the children of the same Father.

Jesus is the first among us brothers and sisters. St. Paul describes this ‘firstborn creation’ as Christ who is the image of the invisible God. In Christ we too carry the same image just like any child caries the image of its parents. That is, we too are created in the image of God. Hence in the person of the neighbor we have the image of Christ, our own image, in other words the face of the invisible God. Jesus has said no one, except the ones the Son has revealed to, has seen God and St. Paul tells us that God is invisible to us. Moses tells us in Deuteronomy, “the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe”.

In spite of all these types of difficulties to see God, we are desirous of seeing him. The law, Jesus, Moses, St. Paul and every Biblical character tell us that we are created in the image of God. In other words, Jesus Christ is not the only image of the invisible God but we too are the visible images of the invisible God. Thus, if at all we want to see God, look at our neighbor, whatever be his or her color, race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, be it an islander or outsider, he or she is the face of God to us and so we need to approach this image with the sacredness and reverence it deserves, as we approach God!

The wounded man is not just a neighbor but the face of God whom we serve and worship. It is this visible image of the invisible God that motivated Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta all her life.

Fr. George