A young adult Catholic from our diocese stopped at a sandwich shop in Iowa during a recent road trip and read a sign on the restaurant’s door asking customers to be patient with the staff. National Public Radio reported July 20 that hospitality workers are quitting their jobs for a number of reasons, including aggressive bosses and so many rude customers. The unrelenting pandemic that keeps us on edge may be contributing to the problem, but the growing alienation in our country creates a culture of suspicion that must make Jesus weep.
How often do we forget that the person waiting on us at the restaurant, filling our order at the drive-up or checking us in for an appointment is also made in the image and likeness of God and thus worthy of our respect and compassion? If a server ordered the wrong cheese for your sandwich or the desk clerk took her time getting to you, does that warrant a tirade or rebuke?
Name-calling has become as pervasive as the coronavirus. Do we label or refer derisively to someone with whom we disagree or feel threatened by? The Association of Mature Citizens emailed a news release July 23 sounding an alarm about “illegal immigration.” Its statement “So, what is Mr. Biden doing to stem the flow of illegals?” dehumanizes individuals created by the God in whom we profess our faith.
We do have a crisis, but it resides on this side of the border: the failure by Congress to enact fair and just immigration law, for which our U.S. bishops continue to advocate. The first step is to insist that the U.S. Senate join the U.S. House in passing legislation that would provide legal status and a path for citizenship for all Dreamers. Their parents brought these undocumented individuals to the U.S. as children. Now young adults, they contribute to the well-being of our country, the only home they may remember. Senators Charles Grassley (grassley.senate.gov/contact) and Joni Ernst (ernst.senate.gov/public) need to hear from us.
Vatican News published a story (Nov. 13, 2019) on World Kindness Day about the kindness shared by and between Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. “… A true Christian brings kindness to others, said Pope Francis. And it is this limitless, selfless loving-kindness towards all other people that glorifies and reflects the nature of God. Pope Francis once asked the faithful how God shows His love. It is not with great things, he said, but through small acts of kindness. This kindness, according to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, along with truth and love, are what ‘make a person pure.’”
We engage in small acts of kindness each time we hold our tongue from using hurtful language toward someone serving our food, registering us for an appointment or making a delivery to our home. We engage in small acts of kindness by posting positive not negative messages on our social media platforms. We engage in small acts of kindness by sending a handwritten note in the mail to someone in need of cheering up or someone with whom we have disagreed. We engage in small acts of kindness by treating everyone we encounter as a person made in the image and likeness of God, even someone who is our polar opposite. Prayer and participation in the sacraments strengthen our resolve to be kind. A good place to start is the peace prayer attributed to St. Francis …
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace ….”
Let us begin to wipe the tears from the face of Jesus.
Barb Arland-Fye, Editor