September 2005 - Volume 10, Issue 2

Editorial - Your Brother's Keeper

By Rev. Mark Connolly


One of the dangers we have to avoid in life is over simplification. There is always someone you will meet who thinks his simplified answers to a complicated problem is all that has to be said. Most of us know that is not true. Each one of us knows we live in a complicated world that is becoming more complicated as our lives go on. In the last sixty or seventy years, we have gone from one war to another. Then we hear all the reasons why we should engage in warfare, how we are to behave during the time of warfare and then simplify how we can get out of the war. Life does not work that way.

That does not mean that each one of us should stay helpless or inactive or not try to do the best we can to bring more peace into our own world and into our own countries. If you study the gospels of Jesus Christ, He made it very clear, even simple. He said, we must be our brother's keeper. We must help those who are in want and need. We must help the underprivileged and war necessarily is not the answer. If you do your role, if I do my role with my neighbor, their life will get better and my life will get better. Pope Paul VI in one of his wonderful speeches to the United Nations, gave a wonderful statement about war when he said, "War, never again, never again". Now we know throughout the history of civilizations, wars have always been prevalent, but we also know in our own country we have individuals who took on causes that really have bettered our society.

When you look at the organization called MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, founded by Candy Lightner, who lost her only child, has affected the laws in our country concerning legislation that really prevents drunken drivers from causing so much chaos. If you look back into the history of one woman in 1955 by the name of Rosa Parks, who said, "I am going to sit in this place on the bus", and how that small heroic woman really had a great deal to do in causing the civil rights movement in our country.

What we have forgotten about the gospels is that Jesus Christ has said, "each one has either five talents, two talents or one talent". However talented you are, you, as an individual, can make a difference. It starts by you, as an individual, bringing more charity, more compassion, more consideration into your own family. Those qualities spread by you and your family can better and improve the lives of those with whom you live and work. When you look at the beautiful writings of Mother Teresa when she was asked about the hundreds of thousands of people in Calcutta and how she would take care of them, she simply answered, "just one at a time". That is the same philosophy that all of us can incorporate into our daily life in our relationship with others. Jesus Christ gave us the motivation when he said, "when I was hungry you gave me to eat, thirsty you gave me to drink, naked you clothed me". He did not ask any of us to do it on a cosmic level, but just one person at a time. That is what it means to be your brother's keeper.