July 10, 2022 ~15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
We can learn a great deal from Mister Rogers. Remember him? He was the gentle soul who found his way into living rooms worldwide starting as far back as 1968. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was a beloved program that celebrated and exalted people, especially children. He taught us that we are neighbors and that everyone has a place. Everyone matters. He had a vision, born of his relationship with God that highlighted every human life’s innocence, beauty, and uniqueness. To that end, he called us to be responsible for each other, saying nothing different than what Jesus said. Viewers quickly learned that life is not just about me.
“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes (Fred Rogers).” It is so easy to look the other way. After all, I’m not the one who needs to leave home out of fear and try to find somewhere safe. I am not the one who is hungry and without shelter or food. I am not the one who has a child being bullied or ridiculed because of the way they dress or act. I am not the one being threatened with violence or unable to find meaningful work. The distress and agony of our neighbors are our distress and agony. We cannot walk by it with an attitude of indifference, especially if we call ourselves believers. When we no longer care, we have suffocated our souls. This is a great sin.
God’s law “is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.” We all have a need for love and acceptance. That’s why Mister Rogers’ television show was so popular. It spoke to something deeper, something sacred about humanity. God didn’t give us his law in a book. He wrote it on our hearts. We know what we need to do. It’s a matter of choice. Love is sacred. When we love another human being, especially without regard for ourselves, it is a holy moment. These moments are often missed due to our self-serving agendas and rules. ©LPi