Some are straight, in committed relationships. Some are gay, in committed relationships. One of my friends was murdered. One committed suicide. Some have been sexually molested or raped. Some struggle daily with mental and/or physical illnesses. Some have post-traumatic stress syndrome. Some are ex-cons. Some are drug addicts and/or alcoholics. One was totally blind. Some use wheelchairs, walkers, or canes.
Some things my friends all have in common: they love and are loved, have great senses of humor, contribute to society, hope for a good life.
I think Jesus had a wide array of very different friends, in part because of His background. His mother probably explained to Him that she had been single when she got pregnant and would have been stoned to death if Joseph hadn't married her. When He was a baby, He, Mary, and Joseph, were refugees in Egypt, on the run from Herod, who wanted to kill Him.
No wonder He was so sensitive and loving to women, including the woman caught in adultery, about to be stoned to death. (John 8: 1-11). He even allowed his friend Mary to sit at his feet and learn, a spot usually reserved for male disciples. (Luke 10: 38-42.)
He must have gotten to know some Samaritans, even though the Jews and Samaritans were enemies, for ethnic and religious reasons. Otherwise, why would He have told his Jewish listeners the parable about the Good Samaritan - who happens to be the hero because he bypasses prejudice to save the life of a Jewish man who'd been attacked? He used that parable to illustrate who our neighbor is, to tell us in no uncertain terms "Love your neighbor." (Luke 10: 29-37.)
Jesus knew that only being loved unconditionally could give people hope: that's why He ministered one-on-one, getting to know people well. And He got to know people who polite society avoided, like thieves, prostitutes, and tax collectors. That's why a priest friend of mine used to deliberately go to bars - he figured that's where Jesus would go today, to meet people, love them, heal them.
If Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan to you today, what name would He use instead of "Samaritan" to get your attention? Prisoner, or gay, or illegal immigrant, or Mexican or African-American or Whitey, or Indian or developmentally disabled, or Republican, or Democrat? Probably the person whom you'd least like to run into on the street, at a party, or live next to.
We know what name Jesus would use to get our attention, the person or group we rant about, dislike, distrust. That's our neighbor. What are we going to do about it? What would Jesus ask us to do?