|What Would You do?
A TV show that I occasionally watch is called “What Would You Do?” The premise of the show is that an incidence, such as someone making racist remarks or stealing stuff out of a car, is staged. The film crew then secretly films bystander’s reaction to it. Most of the time folks ignore the situation and go about their business, sometimes someone will comment to themselves or a person they are with. Once in a while someone will step up and say something to the perpetrator. This brave person is then asked; “Why did you say something and get involved?” Their answers are very telling. Ranging from comments like, “no one should be treated like that” or “I could not tolerate hearing racist comments.” The one main theme that they all seemed to say was “because it is the right thing to do.” Many people would say that they were only doing what any decent person should do. But how many of us are actually willing to step up and confront a person when we hear racist comments or see them bullying someone?
The first reading for the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time from Ezekiel 33 very clearly says what will be our consequences if we stand by and do not speak up. It says: “and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death.” Most of us do not want to get involved or will say “it is none of my business” but according to the reading if we do not get involved, if we do not try and dissuade the person committing the act, we are as guilty as they are. How many of us have been sitting with family or friends and heard racist comments? What do we do? Do we not want to make a scene so we sit quietly and say nothing? If we do, according to Ezekiel, we are as guilty of racism as the person making the comment.
In our second reading from Romans 13 we are told: “Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” The reading goes on to say: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.” Who is our neighbor? Are the children crossing the border to escape violence our neighbors? Do we love them by sending them back to be murdered or forced into sex slavery? Are we doing evil to our neighbors when we buy chocolate made from beans that were picked by children who were trafficked. Do we only think of our neighbors as those who live close by and have the same belief system as we do?
Both of these readings give us a clear message: we cannot remain silent about injustice anywhere at any time no matter how small it may seem and we do that by loving everyone and everything that God loves.
Peace and all good,
May we have the courage to stand up to those bullying or degrading our neighbors, let us pray…
May our love of our neighbor be an example of Jesus to all who witness it, let us pray…