Thursday, August 31, 2017

Not Born to Be Lonely Islands

In the Social Gospel Academy column of the Catholic times a priest in charge of the Justice and Peace committee of a diocese helps us to meditate on a serious problem in society. He begins telling us of a trip in the subway where he was scrutinizing the faces of his fellow passengers. Most of them were intent on the smartphones they were holding. In the small world of the subway car in which they were in, all seemed lonely islands.

Many older people who gave their youth to the world are dying without care. 'It's okay if it's not me'. Many young people do not show the passion and excitement of youth, dejected and head-down, 'it's okay, it's not me'. Thousands are fighting illegal layoffs on the streets, some are deprived of living due to excessive government projects, families live a life like death, we have the women who were sexual slaves of soldiers, now grandmothers-- as long as it's not me it's okay.

These islands are scattered here and there and make one beautiful spot in a archipelago in the southern dream land. As long it's not me no problem. Is this not the line we continue to recite as in a poem, while the world like these islands continues to float?

It's said the world has become dreary. In order to survive  competition has become part of life. "Why do we live?"  "What's  life?"  "What is true life?" We have abandoned these  questions. I am alive because I breathe and I die when I stop breathing. There is no tomorrow. Life is difficult but we don't ask why, we don't even have the energy to ask why. I don't look at you because it's too difficult. Why do I have to live this way? I don't even ask because it will retard my 'progress'. Why don't we get rid of the word "Why"? Is this not a pathetic way to save ourselves?

We are all walking different paths. However, we can make two big divisions in life. The writer has done this with Cain from the Old Testament (Gen. 4: 1-6)  and the Samaritan from the New Testament (Lk.10:29-37).

The Good Samaritan helped the dying  victim of a robbery,  interrupting  what he was doing to be with the hurting person. Cain on the other hand, for selfish reasons, killed his gentle brother. The contrast between the two is simple and clearly made: 'together' and  'alone', 'sympathy' and 'contempt', 'coexistence' and 'competition', 'sharing' and  'monopoly', 'serving' and 'oppression', 'life' and 'death'.

Our consciences tell us clearly what path we should take. However, knowing and walking the way  are two different actions. What path, he asks, are we taking now? We have the 'Good Samaritan Way' and  the 'Cain Way'. Even though the Cain way is  always  present in our world have we taken the way of the Samaritan, the way of  peace and joy?  Or could it be that we have deceived ourselves in thinking we walk the way of the Samaritan but in reality the way of Cain? Let's us walk courageously the way we know is correct.