22 Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 30, 2020
I recently watched a TV program called “WWYD?” Obviously, a reference to WWJD — WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?
In fact, the “Y” stands for YOU…the full title of the show being “What Would You Do?”
It’s a reality show. It involves a team of actors sent to a public place to stage a drama that involves a degree of suffering. The single episode that I watched featured a little boy who was extremely distressed by the animosity between his divorced parents. Hidden cameras recorded the reaction of bystanders witnessing the child’s suffering. Would they get involved? I don’t care to see a second episode, because there is enough actual suffering in the world that it offends me that suffering is staged for the purpose of entertainment.
Would you pass by, pretending not to notice? That would be an entirely understandable and all too common reaction. It’s as if the original sin embedded in humankind a “selfish gene.” As a consequence, our personal comfort, safety, even convenience often leaves us entirely oblivious to or causes us to intentionally ignore the suffering of others.
Still, it is critical to remember that our God created us in the Divine image and likeness. That means that we were called into being out of love so that we might receive and give love. And with love comes the ability to empathize…to understand and share the feelings of others. That human ability that is rooted in and nourished by love inspires us to get involved and to respond to the suffering of others.
The unrepeatable example of perfect love and empathy is Jesus Christ. Witnessing the suffering brought about by sin, Our Creator “got involved.” God’s reaction to our distress is beautifully described at John 3:16:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.
Some interpret the Lord’s reaction to Peter as a reminder that life is filled with suffering, and there is value and meaning to the pain we endure in this world. And although that is true, this passage is far more than a dire warning that we must accept what life brings. It is a reason for hope! The Lord’s suffering and death have given us hope that we will survive whatever trials and tribulations befall us…we will not perish but will have eternal life.
Only you can answer that question. But, this little passage tells us what we SHOULD DO…when we see someone suffering. We should do what God did. We should do what Jesus did. We should get involved. We should do what we can to inspire hope! That’s what Jesus did.
Fr. Kelly, I want to respond to your homily this week.
Daryl Domning is a paleontologist at Howard University in Washington, DC. He has an additional interest in the theological implications of evolution. He suggests original sin is our native responds – the survival of the fittest or natural selection. As we evolve into more consciousness, teachers have come like Jesus, to help us over come that instinctual impulse of the ego. Domning would say, our coming to consciousness is developing empathy and compassion for others.
Found this interesting, Sr. Laura