The following is an excerpt from Fr. Bob's homily shared with the school assembly during opening Mass on Wednesday, August 25 on how CJ is striving to be more compassionate in the 2021-2022 school year and beyond:
For the past 18 months or so, a virus has taken up much of our time and energy. It has changed how we go to school, how we go to church, how we get groceries for our homes, how we go about our daily lives.
I’d like to talk about a virus. But not the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. I’d like to mention another virus, one that has been around for some time now, and one that – believe it or not – was discovered by Pope Francis. In his earlier life, Pope Francis was a scientist; he once taught chemistry.
But the virus he has spoken of on many occasions doesn’t really affect the body, but more the soul, and he tells us that it is dangerously contagious. It’s what he calls the “virus of indifference.”
“A virus spread by the thought that life is better if it is better for me, and that everything will be fine if it is fine for me. It begins there and ends up selecting one person over another, discarding the poor, and sacrificing those left behind.”
The Gospel parable of the Good Samaritan comes to mind. A man is robbed and left on the side of the road. A priest walks by, and what does he do? Nothing, he goes to the other side. A Levite walks by and what does he do? Nothing, stepping aside as the priest did.
This is what Pope Francis was talking about. Indifference. Seeing someone in need and choosing to ignore them, to just walk by the other side.
The good news, however, is that this isn’t the end of the story, and the parable actually gives us the cure to this virus of indifference. Down the road comes a Samaritan. And what does he do? He approaches the victim. He does a little first aid and gets him to a place of safety so he could recuperate.
More important than what the Samaritan did is why he did it. There was something within the Samaritan that touched him, moved him, made him feel for the man on the side of the road. He felt the man’s pain even though he wasn’t hurt himself. He found himself also suffering with the man on the side of the road even though he was just walking by. He sensed the man’s vulnerability and discomfort. In a word – he was moved with compassion.
This moved him to kneel down and take care of him; it inspired him to reach out to the man on the side of the road and take care of his needs, to help him in his time of trouble. Whereas the priest and the Levite didn’t even care or bother, the Samaritan did. And in doing so he brought healing, peace, and new life.
I think we could use a little bit more of this, a little more compassion. When we look around today, it’s really easy to not be concerned about someone else, but Jesus calls us to be like the Samaritan, to be moved with compassion and to allow ourselves to be moved to take care of those who are vulnerable, hurting, ignored by others, those who are in need in our school, our communities, and our world at large. Compassion is the cure for the virus of indifference.
CJ, this year we are invited to #BeCompassionCJ.
Instead of intolerance…live in mercy.
Instead of anger…give grace.
Instead of shouting…act with kindness.
Instead of hatred…look for goodness.
Instead of ill will…show love.
Instead of fear…have faith.
Instead of selfishness…practice patience.
Instead of violence…build peace.
Instead of Indifference…be compassion.
Here I believe we find the cure for the virus of indifference.
Fr. Bob Jones, SM, school chaplain