Herald Journal Columns
Feb. 21, 2005, Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

It’s all a matter of perspective

By Father Robert Mraz, Holy Family Catholic Church, Silver Lake

When I visit the nursing home or the parish shut-ins, and I ask them “How is it going?,” usually, they are very optimistic, even when they are confined to their home or their bed or wheelchair.

The usual answer is, “There are a lot of people who have it a lot worse than I.” How often I find that they are looking at each other’s situation and are glad for the illness or condition they are bearing, but would not want the illness or condition the other has.

We look at the tsunami of Dec. 26 and the results of it, and we have a number of reactions. One is that of compassion.

We see the images of people who have lost family members, lost their homes and all their belongings, and there is an automatic desire to lend a helping hand to people we never knew, and even countries we barely knew existed.

Somehow, the world has gotten a lot smaller and we, as a family, have also gotten a lot closer. We hate to see tragedies like this, especially on this grand scale, but here is a window of opportunity for a grand scale act of kindness which will touch people for generations to come and hopefully, change not only this part of the world for the better, but that part, too, as people realize there are other people who care about them in foreign nations far away.

A lot of these nations have had a lot of civil strife in the past. Hopefully, the charity and concern given so generously will give hope to the region, even in the midst of all this tragedy, that the civil conflicts are unnecessary and minor in comparison to all that can be accomplished if we work together.

The next reaction I have encountered to news of the tsunami is thanksgiving. No matter how bad our situation is, we are so much better off than those unfortunate people. Suddenly, all our major problems seem small in comparison to losing home, family, and friends.

How I hope that this reaction will also make a change in our world situation with people of other nations.

I look at Iraq and the factions fighting there to get an upper hand; and the Palestinians in Israel with their squabbles and attacks and counter attacks. Wouldn’t a little thanksgiving for the blessings they have in comparison, make their situations more bearable and, hopefully, give more incentive to work together for peace and a future of brotherhood in their nations, instead of focusing on rivalry, division, conflict, and terrorism?

We hate to see any tragedy in life, but from every cross, there is the possibility of a resurrection to a new life. Let us not lose this opportunity to share our blessings by acts of concern and kindness to this unfortunate part of the world, and let our example help others, with their crosses, give them a spirit of hope and thanksgiving to work together to find peace and brotherhood.

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