June Pastoral Letter
Sitting at a café on my day off a little while ago I couldn’t help but overhear the rather vociferous conversation taking place between two ladies on a neighbouring table. I guess all of us can succumb to the temptation of how, in our wisdom, we would put the world to rights, and these two ladies were no exception. One lady in question was particularly vocal in expressing her views on the general state of society and what she would do to correct it, which basically meant, from what I could gather, doing away with everything and everyone she didn’t agree with.
She began with the politicians, and then moved on to those caught up in the penal system. I wondered when she would get around to those of us “of the cloth” and what our fate might be! Finally, she turned on everyone termed as “do-gooders, ” who in her mind should be put in a boat and cast out to sea. By the end of the conversation there were not too many of us left standing! It seems to me that the term “do-gooder” is one which is much maligned today, and is often used with a sense of disdain and rancour. I even heard it used again in a dubious and unkind way in a televised political debate a few days ago.
In my view this term does not deserve the negative overtones associated with it, and only serves to misrepresent and undermine those who give their time, energy and attention to acts of charity. If we are saying that the good neighbour who regularly visits the elderly housebound person down the road, and who sits with her, and listens to her needs and offers time and help, or the person who at a moment’s notice is willing to shop for the sick, or use their car to take that person to hospital; if we are saying the person who is willing to volunteer to do some useful community work for young people on a tough inner city housing estate; if we are saying any person who by their good works reminds us to look beyond ourselves to the needs of the wider community and world are now to be pessimistically portrayed as “do-gooders,” then I unreservedly say, “thank you God, how we need more of them.”
I conclude by saying, that Christ affirmed genuine goodness whenever and wherever it was found, even in unlikely places and among unlikely people. How often when helping others He said to His followers, “Go now and do likewise.”
I invite you to ponder some of the words Christ spoke. He said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “The good person brings good things out of the good stored in their heart.” And, finally, Jesus would say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”