Thursday, March 9, 2017

Keep it simple

In today's gospel we hear what is possibly the best known and simplest summary of the Christian rule for all human interactions.

Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets

And yet, this one sentence, as simple as it is, seems to be very difficult for us to live, either individually or collectively.

In the 20th century we dreamed of how technology would help us to span great distance and close the gaps between distant peoples.

In the 21st century what we experience is ever increasing isolation, and decreasing amounts of face to face communication. With the growing amount of self-service and online activity the requirement that we actually speak face to face with another person has all but vanished. Those tiny interactions( the gas station, the bank, the store ) in which we practiced the skills of civility or manners have slowly faded away. Email, voicemail, and texting allow us to fire off comments from a distance that we perhaps would not say face to face, and online posts and "comments" provide a safe haven for our most base and often cowardly acts. Technology that should help bring us together has enabled each of us to retreat into our own customized world, and deep down people feel more alone than ever.

As we hear the golden rule it is not only a reminder to us about how we are to interact but also a reminder about our basic human need to interact.

It is not good for the man to be alone.

Even the most introverted need not virtual but actual human interaction. As we strive to life during Lent, perhaps before we fire off another email or text it is time to pick up a phone, or even walk down the hall or into the other room and look someone in the eye, smile and speak to them face to face showing the respect that every person deserves. And if you are more comfortable texting, perhaps you should give up that comfort for Lent.