“If not us, who? If not now, when?” ~ John F. Kennedy
Kennedy may have been thinking more about political and social action when he gave us that now famous quote. I think it is just as appropriate to view from a faith life perspective as well. Whether it be in society or in the Church, there are too many people who stand on the sidelines and watch what is happening yet who never lift a finger to help.
Because there are those who are reluctant to get involved, people suffer. I remember learning about Kitty Genovese when I was in high school. You may remember that she was a 28 year old in March of 1964 who was stabbed outside the apartment building across the street from where she lived, in an apartment above a row of shops on Austin Street, in the Kew Gardens neighborhood of Queens in New York City.
What made this a real indictment against society was that there were 38 witnesses who either saw or heard the murder taking place. Not a single person notified the police or came to her aid. In case you missed that, let me write it again: Not a single person notified the police or came to her aid.
“If not us, who? If not now, when?” At His ascension, Jesus commissioned us to continue the work He began. Each of us — yes, you and I — was given a mandate to comfort the needy, to heal the sick, to give refuge to the homeless, and, in general, to be Christ to and for others.
We cannot do that, absolutely cannot do that, by standing on the sidelines. If we do, we are like 38 individuals who waited for someone else to call the police or come to the aid of a person being mugged and stabbed to death.
Do you want the Lord to look at you when He calls you to Himself and say, “Where were you when this person needed you? Why didn’t you help this person out?” Do you? It is bound to happen if we do nothing for others when we see the need to come to their aid.
The need is rather apparent and is all around us. We cannot close our eyes to the needy. We cannot keep our hands at our sides when others are asking for our help. To do so contributes to their need and, perhaps, might even contribute to their demise.
FAITH ACTION: Have you done your part for the Lord? If not, you might want to consider going to confession this afternoon.