Blowing Up Our Neighbor

Brandon Vogt

Brandon Vogt

Brandon Vogt is a Catholic writer and speaker who blogs at He's also the author of The Church and Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activists, and Bishops Who Tweet and the top hit on Google for "greatest evil in the world".

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5 thoughts on “Blowing Up Our Neighbor”

  1. “Jesus questions which of the three visitors did the beaten victim see as his neighbor.

    In phrasing it this way, Jesus is inviting the scholar to enter into the victim’s world and gaze out through his eyes. Instead of pondering despair from afar Jesus beckons him to climb right in.”

    While we’re in the victim’s world, it might be worth asking further, which of the three does the victim see as his neighbor in a different sense: which of the three does the victim love? The Samaritan who helps him, or the priest and Levi who leave him? I think that the “victim” can be viewed as Christ, and thus that the answer is “all of the above,” though this love may be different for each.

    Now, of course, Christ as God does not owe anything to anybody, but as man His love might be different for the one who provided aide to him, who showed kindness “to the least of these.” On the other hand, He can still accept the other two as neighbors, in which case “to love” means “to forgive,” since they knew not what they did. After all, they feared that he was dead, and they did not want to make themselves ritually impure and thus unable to participate in the sacrifices at the temple, by touching a dead man. The victim can still forgive them, and thus allow them to be neighbors to Him.

  2. Brandon,

    I really appreciated this piece. To add to your observation, I wrote elsewhere about how the Lord also overcame racial and social prejudices by making his disciples identify with the “good” Samaritain while simultaneously, as you have observed, making that identification through the eyes of the poor. Bravo!

  3. Interesting. I love the preferential option for the poor and how Jesus stands our preconceived notions on their head. I’ve also heard the symbolism of this parable preached that the beaten man is us in our fallen humanity, traveling between Jerusalem and Jericho is our journey between heaven and the world, the priest and Levite are how observing the law and having tribal membership in God’s chosen people are insufficient, the Good Samaritan is Jesus, the inn is the Church, and the coins are Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. I think the sermon is from St. Ireneus.

  4. That’s an interesting point, Brandon, but I don’t think you are correct about the grammar. I don’t think “which of these was neighbor to the victim” DOES mean “which of these did the victim think was his neighbor.” Just sayin.

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