On #WorldKindnessDay, a post in honor of one who showered his neighborhood with love, grace, and kindness. (Although let’s do our part to make every day full of kindness!)
I have really never considered myself a TV star. I always thought I was a neighbor who just came in for a visit. – Fred Rogers, host of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood
I once heard Cardinal Dolan share a story from the early years of his priesthood when he served as an associate in a parish. The pastor of that parish asked then Fr. Dolan to go with him while he visited some parishioners’ homes one day. Back then, neighborhoods were organized by religion and ethnicity, and as the pastor drove along the street in the Catholic neighborhood, he knew well the families living in each home. As he passed each house, the pastor would mention things like: Mrs. Smith just had a miscarriage; Jesus, have mercy. Mr. Hill is having job struggles; Jesus, have mercy. Sally just became engaged to Johnny; Jesus, have mercy. Grandma Bea fell and injured her wrist; Jesus, have mercy.
I wonder if that still happens anywhere these days. For my part, when I drive down my suburban neighborhood street, while I recognize many faces, I don’t know what’s on my neighbors’ hearts. We are more mobile and our neighborhoods are more transient than in generations past. Accordingly, it’s imperative to be all the more intentional about building community within them. Chances are good that some of your neighbors are in great need of Jesus’ mercy, and may not even recognize as much.
Dear Jesus, help me be a sign of Your mercy and kindness to those in my neighborhood.
Question to Ponder: Is there a particular family in your neighborhood to whom you feel called to reach out? Consider stopping by for a neighborly visit and strike up a conversation.