I go to a Jesuit university. We are encouraged to let a spirit of service filter into everything we do, from working at the food bank with our professors to spending a morning standing in community against hatred and bigotry. We’re constantly reminded of doing the right thing, of living a life of service, of putting others’ needs before our own. And, I would wager a guess that my university isn’t the only place that constantly reminds its people to do the right thing.
I’ve heard about “doing the right thing” for as long as I can remember — definitely beginning in preschool, though probably before that, with the influence of my parents and siblings. But haven’t we beaten that topic absolutely to death? I’ve been thinking about these questions quite a lot, especially with this week’s message focusing on the importance of remaining on the path of righteousness. So it seems to me that the reason we keep highlighting “everyday heroes” and talking about “doing the right thing” is that it’s hard, and it might actually go against our human nature. We need constant reminders and examples of going against the status quo to remain on the path of righteousness.
Our liturgical tradition is filled with all kinds of people who left everything or gave up everything to do what was right. Many of them we venerate as saints today — saints are built-in examples for us to emulate. Picking a specific saint to learn from and about is a really incredible opportunity for finding a new role model. Go home and look up Thomas of Cana, Rose Philippine Duchesne, or Genevieve. Or, learn more about a saint you might have already heard about — maybe the saint whose name you took for a confirmation name, or the saint whose feast falls on a special day for you.
But the best part of finding examples of people who did the right thing is that they’re not confined to saints or other Catholics. People all over the country and all over the world are doing the right thing, regardless of race, religion, color or creed. A group of teenagers publicly stood up to defend their friends, schools, and communities after a gunman opened fire on their high school last Valentine’s Day. Muslim groups from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area raised over $200,000 for their Jewish neighbors after tragedy struck at the Tree of Life Synagogue. Women in California prisons bravely volunteered to fight the devastating wildfires that ravaged communities close to ours at the end of last year.
So I’m going to end this week with a challenge: go out into the world, and do one thing in service of someone else. Whether it’s buying the coffee for the person behind you in line, or volunteering for a task at home or work you’d normally avoid, live this week as a man or woman with and for others. We’re all in this together, and we’re all going to keep each other accountable to doing the right thing. Because we all get it — the path of righteousness is hard!
--Claire Kosewic, Staff Bulletin Writer
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