While celebrating the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, I was horrified to hear of what happened in Sri Lanka. I grew angry. Not sad; just angry. I tried to tell myself that all of those people are in a better place now – that they are literally with the Risen Christ in Heaven. Even so, my heart was heavy and I couldn’t shake the sense of loss. How can there be that level of evil on Easter Sunday? As a Catholic, it felt personal. It always does. And the questions repeatedly swell in my heart: How can I help? God, what are you asking me to do in the world? “What’s my name, what’s my station, oh, just tell me what I should do” (Fleet Foxes).
The other night, I laid awake in bed wondering why God wants me living here in DFW (as opposed to anywhere else in the world). My life could have looked a lot differently. It could have been me in that Church in Sri Lanka. I could have been born hundreds of years ago in a world without Netflix, Doritos, and lawn mowers. I could have been born into a different family and grown up in a different country. But that’s not my story. For some reason, I am here; in DFW in 2019. So what’s the plan?
In the Gospels, when the disciples asked Jesus for a plan – He just said “follow me.” And when they pressed Him for practicals – He said “love your neighbor.” It’s interesting that he used the word “neighbor.” That’s a very local word. And it’s local to wherever I am at any given moment. I also love that it’s very specific. My neighbor has a name, and I know where he lives. If you live in the DFW area, chances are high that you have plenty of neighbors. What if you and I just focused on bringing healing to a broken world by loving the people around us – literally the people that live in our neighborhoods and those we encounter daily.
Here’s an idea: what if every time we went to the store, we carried with us the needs of our neighbors? Imagine what our metroplex would look like if each one of us viewed our neighborhoods as an extension of our own family; our church; our community.
The more I consider the needs of the world, the more I realize my circle of influence isn’t global – it is local. We’re not here by mistake. If we want to make the world a better place, I believe we should set our hearts on loving every person in our 10-foot radius and every neighbor in our neighborhood. That’s measurable and do-able. Bite size. If even half of us committed to impacting our local community (our literal neighbors), I’m confident the global community would feel it. I don’t want to hear about another bombing on Easter Sunday ever again. I’m sure you don’t either. Here’s to shopping for Adrian, Sarah, Rob, and Monica.
This blog was written by Tim Jara, Coordinator of High School Youth Ministry here at St. Francis of Assisi. If you’re interested in writing a blog for St. Francis of Assisi, please contact Joseph at firstname.lastname@example.org.