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How Do We Look at the World?

How do you look at world? How many people want to know what the world can do for them? They make everything they do about themselves.

They are interested in what makes them look good (pride). They are interested in what brings them material wealth (greed and envy). They are willing to put others down to make themselves look good. They are more concerned about material wealth for themselves than for the needs of others.

As part of this they look for bad in others just to put them down. I don’t think they necessarily do this to hurt others. I think they might put others down to help them feel better about themselves. Here I think of the Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector in Luke 18:9-14. Specifically, I think of verse 9 where the Pharisee “thanks” God that he is not like the rest of humanity.

As part of this putting down of others, we see stereotyping. We lump people into categories. It might be by race, ethnicity, or religion. If they see some people in a category doing something wrong, they assume everyone in that category must be like that.

Of course, none of what I have said above is how we are called to act or think as Christians. We are to be concerned for the needs of others. We need to lift others up. Jesus tells us the greatest commandment is to love God. The second is to love our neighbor. We love our neighbor when lifting them up.

Who is our neighbor? Jesus speaks of loving God, our neighbor, and who our neighbor is in Luke 10:25-37. The Jews and Samaritans did not get along but we are called to love even those who we don’t get along with (hopefully this changes things so we get along).

We lift them up by helping them in their need. We pray that they see the love that motivates us and embrace God’s love. In turn, they lift others, maybe they even lift us up.

I think this is all the more important right now. We are experiencing an especially stressful time because of the Coronavirus. The good news is that things are getting better. The number of new cases is down. Things are beginning to open back up. However, we still are limited in what we can do. How much stress do you feel right now? How are you dealing with the reopening? The stress affects how we respond to whatever comes our way. We need to lift one another up.

It doesn’t matter where we are from. Whether we have always lived in the same town or if we have moved across the world, we are all children of God.

It doesn’t matter what language we speak. We are all children of God.

It doesn’t matter whether one believes in God or not. God loves everyone as his children.

It doesn’t matter if a person is disabled. God loves them and we are called to love them.

Our human dignity does not depend on the color of our skin, race, ethnicity, disabilities, or any other tangible criteria. The dignity of all life comes from God for it is God’s image that we are created (Genesis 1:26-27).

It starts at conception when a unique individual is formed in their mother’s womb (see “Biology Makes Me Pro-Life”). It continues to the point of natural death.

We need to treat everyone with the dignity they deserve. In doing so, we lift them up. We lift them, we lift each other up in God’s love.

Yet, we live in a world troubled by violence. People feel threatened. That effects how we respond to bad situations. We need to protect ourselves but we pray that we do so in a way that makes the situation better, not worse.

There have been numerous protests going on around our country following the killing of Mr. George Floyd. Excessive force was used. Most of the protests have been peaceful as people called for all to be treated with dignity. Unfortunately, some protests have been hijacked, turning violent and into looting. We pray for peace.

We need to pray that we all love one another.

We also need to pray for the police to always respond appropriately in difficult situations with the minimum (hopefully none) level of force necessary. Yes, some police cross the line of appropriate level of force. Most do not. Please don’t lump the good police officers in with the bad.

I mentioned that at times we feel threatened and that affects how we respond. The same is true for police. At times they really are threatened. That affects how they go into every situation. I say none of this to justify what police do. I say to remind us how much we need to pray for them (St. Michael the Archangel is the patron of police officers). We pray for them to have the gifts from the Holy Spirit of knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and right judgment, along with the courage to respond to each situation they face in accord with God’s Will

We pray for cooler heads to prevail. We pray for the dignity of all life. We are all children of God. As we seek to love God may we also love all our neighbors.

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

3 Comments

  1. Linda House says:

    We are living in a time where the thinking of many is that there is “no absolute truth” because truth is dependent on ones thinking, the situation, etc. This leads to emotions, perception and deception ruling our society . Thank you for reminding us there is real truth and it can be found in the sacred scriptures.

  2. Linda W says:

    Thank you Father Jeff.
    God Bless you.

  3. Carmella says:

    Very well said, Fr. Jeff. We are in the midst of very emotionally charged times. All people need to take a breath and say a prayer before speaking and acting. Everything we think, say and do has consequence, like ripples on the pond. God Bless.

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