24 February 2019 – Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Try a little kindness
It is striking that in a time when technology has made distance dead- we seem to see the rise of a fear of “the other” in debates about migration and immigration. Some want walls (preferably physical) or at least some barrier to keep out the many. Ironically they wish to have complete freedom to move around for themselves, while at the same time restricting it for “others.”
Another view holds that in the name of mercy, compassion and justice, we should welcome all and provide for their housing, health and education.
Has it come to this- that it is a case of either/or not both/and? Surely law, justice, order, compassion, fairness are sisters not polar opposites. The message of Jesus is very clear- “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly.” In fact it is more than a “message”- a suggestion- it’s as our American friends would call it- an “executive order.” It is the hallmark of the Christian. In the first Reading in a striking image- David who is being hunted by a jealous King Saul, finds himself with the King at his mercy. David does not strike when the opportunity comes. He may have the upper hand, but it is not a time to deal a low blow on a defenceless “enemy.”
Immigration will always be an important part of our political discourse, but we must remain vigilant in the way we frame the issues and the rhetoric we use to debate them. There is no place in the debate for prejudice, xenophobia, and the appeal to baser instincts of fear toward the stranger.
We are living through an age of immense change, and change creates insecurities that are easily translatable into suspicion and hate. There is a genuine debate to be had about immigration, but it must be conducted with wisdom, generosity and restraint. It’s the revolution of kindness…
Bringing it all down- just how kind are you? What is your kindness level? When was the last time you did something kind for someone in your family- a cup of tea, a job done- without being badgered or asked, a place at the supermarket check-out, a car let through. Kind hearts are quietly but powerfully kind and give without any thought of return. Kindness is also a gift to yourself- for we cannot give in kindness without being first- kind to ourselves.