Today's Gospel reading gives us the beloved story of The Good Samaritan. Jesus tells this story as an answer to the scholar's question, "And who is my neighbor?" However, Jesus turns the question around and asks the man, "Which of these was neighbor to the man who was beaten?" The crux of the matter, then, is not that we should try to figure out which person is our neighbor (and which ones are not); rather we should put all of our attention into trying to BE neighbor to everyone.
(Sorry about the misquote in the homily! I said, "Isaiah 55", when it really should be "Matthew 5". Mea culpa.)
Today's readings -- and the presidential prayers for the Mass -- tell us that we should rejoice. Isaiah's imagery is a bit shocking as he refers to Jerusalem (the New Jerusalem) as a Mother who delights in her children and plays with them on her lap. In the Gospel, even as the disciples are reporting to Jesus about their progress following their first missionary activity, Jesus says to them, "Rejoice rather because your names are written in heaven." In the midst of all of that, St. Paul writes to the Galatians that he will boast of nothing except the cross of Christ. It is only by embracing our crosses that we are assured the glory of the Resurrection.