“Who is my neighbor?”

who is my neighbor?This Sunday’s readings are about abortion. Many disagree. They assert that the Bible doesn’t directly talk about abortion anywhere. In fact, some abortion rights advocates claim that 5 Bible verses actually support abortion rights. This Sunday’s gospel reading suggests the issue hangs on a single question: “Who is my neighbor?”

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

This Sunday’s gospel reading presents us with the parable of the Good Samaritan:

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said,

“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law?

How do you read it?”

He said in reply,

“You shall love the Lord, your God,

with all your heart,

with all your being,

with all your strength,

and with all your mind,

and your neighbor as yourself.”

He replied to him, “You have answered correctly;

do this and you will live.”

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,

“And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied,

“A man fell victim to robbers

as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.

They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.

A priest happened to be going down that road,

but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.

Likewise a Levite came to the place,

and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.

But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him

was moved with compassion at the sight.

He approached the victim,

poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.

Then he lifted him up on his own animal,

took him to an inn, and cared for him.

The next day he took out two silver coins

and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,

‘Take care of him.

If you spend more than what I have given you,

I shall repay you on my way back.’

Which of these three, in your opinion,

was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”

He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.”

Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Who ISN’T my neighbor?

The scholar’s question suggests that not everyone is our neighbor. Even more, the question the scholar of the law is really asking is, “Who ISN’T my neighbor?” as Dr. Peter Kreeft writes in his book, “Food For the Soul.” 

Says Kreeft:

“The answer, of course, is nobody isn’t your neighbor: not Jews, not Samaritans, not Democrats, not Republicans, not blacks, not whites, not South Koreans, not North Koreans, not Red Sox fans, not even Yankee fans. Your neighbor is everyone — not “everyone” in general but each one in particular, one by one:  every person God brings into your life in any way, even heretics like the Samaritans.”

And even the unborn.

What is the parable’s lesson? To treat our neighbors with mercy. And abortion certainly isn’t merciful.

In this Sunday’s first reading (Deuteronomy 30:10-14), Moses says that heeding God’s commandments and statutes isn’t ‘rocket science.’

‘Rocket Science’

Actually, he didn’t say it quite like that. But he did say:

“For this command that I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you. It is not up in the sky, that you should say, ‘Who will go up in the sky to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’ Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea to get if for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’ No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.”

In other words, we know what God wants because he speaks to us through our conscience. And our conscience knows that the Sixth Commandment says, “Thou shalt not kill.”

Abortion kills our neighbor. And this neighbor doesn’t live next door or across the street, she lives within you.

Be merciful towards her.

Dr. Kreeft says we have to be “honest with our conscience:”

“We can easily ignore it, silence it, cloud it, or make compromises with it. We have to be uncompromisingly honest and always ask, What is the truth? What is the true good? That’s the first duty our conscience tells us we have: to honestly seek the truth, will the truth, and want to know the truth about what we should and should not do. And then obey it.”

So far, so good. But as Kreeft points out, this can be hard:

“The knowing part is easy; the obeying part is hard. So we rationalize: we pretend that the knowing part is hard, and that makes disobeying easy.”

A mountain of lies

The entire abortion debate has been built on a mountain of lies and rationalization.

Abortion supporters argue that there’s a difference between a human being and a person. Philosopher Ayn Rand said that an embryo has no rights: 

“Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born. The living take precedence over the not-yet-living” (or the unborn).

But potential certainly doesn’t define OR disqualify personhood. It is irrelevant to the notion of personhood. And human rights aren’t determined by size, intellect, location, state of development or desirability of the person involved. Humanity is a scientific fact at the instant of fertilization, according to embryologists. 

These scientists tell us human life begins when the sperm and ovum, neither of which can sustain life or direct growth by itself, come together at fertilization. For the first time the new life has all 46 chromosomes and all the directions (DNA) it needs for the rest of life. 

The sex of the baby, the color of the hair, everything is already fixed. Humanity is fixed. Personhood is fixed, as if there were even a distinction.

Modern man lacks enlightenment

The ultrasound didn’t exist in the time of Moses, but ancient man’s consciences KNEW that killing a human being was evil, because God said so. Modern man seems to be less enlightened than our forebears, and even with detailed depictions of creation, as you can see in the video above, many deny or downplay these young persons their humanity.

This Sunday’s second reading (Colossians 1:15-20) should jar even the most jaundiced pro abortion advocate. St. Paul writes of Jesus:

For IN him were created all things in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers;
ALL things were created THROUGH him and FOR him.

At fertilization, that new person was created IN Christ. She was created THROUGH Christ. And she was created FOR Christ.

When we kill our neighbor (this unborn person in the womb), we are killing God’s creation. It isn’t rocket science.