Thursday, May 21, 2020

Who Is My Neighbor?

Last Year Australia had a large forest fire it would have destroyed 85 percent of the wooded area of Korea; many animals were killed, human lives lost but most people in the world saw it as an Australian problem. It was not our disaster but an Australian disaster. In Bible & Life magazine, a priest in Justice and Peace work for a diocese gives us some thoughts to mull over.

We have lost the ability to see universally, relationally, communitarianly. We live in the same space but not together, absorbed only in our individual lives, no time to be concerned with others. Our ability to sympathize to empathize becomes less. Consequently, we are not living together with others but each for himself. Putting it more succinctly: the survival of the fittest and natural selection is operative.

Recently, the coronavirus has entered our world. The little virus has shocked the world and brought fear. Many have been infected and died: caused great suffering to many. In our world, there are all kinds of viruses that cause diseases but the coronavirus without any special reason doesn't play favorites. The World Health Organization called the virus pandemic. It can infect all of us. Those who were busy making a living were suddenly shocked by an unexpected enemy at the door.

Each person going along with his daily tasks was suddenly faced with great confusion. It was not just a tragedy for life is full of tragedies which we have to face. No this was a tragedy that humanity has to face. It was not something we could handle ourselves; it required the help of all; it was a world tragedy.

The virus helped us see the issue as a universal problem. We began to understand universal in a different sense because of corona 19. Earth, humanity, neighbor, solidarity, coexistence words that have connoted universality were understood in a subjective sense but the virus gave life and meaning to these words. People in a different country and culture are going through the same suffering; we began seeing them as our neighbor. "When you hurt I am hurting" these lines from melodramas took on new meaning for us. We experienced the dignity of all humanity thanks to the virus.

In this vortex, some continue to seek only their own personal goals and needs and to protect their assets at all costs. They may even be infected and not concerned with the contagion and fear they are promoting for nefarious reasons. However, we do have many who are not concerned for themselves and are there to help those in need unconditionally. In this miserable situation, many are showing great empathy for others. What we had forgotten has returned: universality, relationship, neighbor. Who is my neighbor? (Luke 10:29).

This question sets us thinking as a protest to those who only think of their own needs. Yes, who is our neighbor? Is it not anybody in need?

In this world in which we live we have many disasters that confront us in life. Not only the corona 19 but parents that lose a child to death, a worker who is fired, a young person who can't find a job, a person without the necessary funds for a hospital, a foreign worker expelled from a country, for many, these situations are worse than death.

This is a time where mercy needs to be shown. In the parable, the Samaritan who showed mercy to the one who met the thief is what we are all called to do.

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