“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Sunday, July 23, 2017


There is a Kenyan proverb made famous by Hillary Clinton that says It Takes a Village to raise a child. (Don't let her association with the proverb cast dispersions of its point.)

The proverb means, of course, that the entire community has a stake in the proper nurture and raising of a child, not just the child's parents. It also involves grandparents, teachers, pastors and parish. We all have a stake in the raising of our community’s children. It speaks to the concept of human connectedness and interdependence. It’s the villagers who make a village.

Individuals investing themselves in their neighbours or neighbourhoods – now that's what really makes life better in a community! Human relationships are what makes life rich, fulfilling and meaningful.  People must give, not just take. This touches on the interconnectedness that binds people together in a community.

Human interdependence accepts others as having equal natural dignity. When people accept this concept, it sparks the beginning of understanding the universality of human dignity.

Christ said, “Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”[1] 

Golden rule
We commonly call this the Golden rule. There’s something universal about it. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Isn’t the Golden Rule really an extension of the Hebrew Old Testament concept to love your neighbour as yourself? In ancient China, Confucius said, “Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you."[2] In Hindu writings you will find this quote: "One should not behave toward others in a way that is disagreeable to oneself. This is the essence of morality." [3]  

Do unto others
How would you like to be treated? That’s how you should respond to other people. How would you like others to treat your children or grandchildren? Treat your neighbour's children or grandchildren that way. Treat them with the lovingkindness and understanding you would want your own children to receive in your neighbour’s company.

Treat the old people you meet with the same courtesy and deference you would want your parents to receive from people. The senior you meet may be somebody’s parent and they were certainly somebody’s child. They were, at one time, an infant sleeping in a mother’s arms and that mother hoped and prayed for her child who is now the old person you meet on the street. If that is not true, and that old person you meet was never cradled, nurtured or prayed for … then they are in special need of your kindness and friendship.

That is the essence of concern for the common good our communities should reflect at their best.

The Common Good
The common good of any community concerns itself with all its citizens and embraces the natural human dignity of every human life in their midst. To paraphrase the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the common good can be understood as the sum total of social conditions that allow people – as groups or individuals – to reach their potential and flourish.[4] The common good of a community is always concerned with the progress of all its people and recognizes the leadership of public authorities.

Human interdependence accepts others as having equal natural dignity. That is the beginning of understanding the universality of human dignity. (It is the opposite of personal autonomy.)

Most of us will make our marks for equal, natural human dignity in the places where we live (or at least we should). Our legacy will occur in our communities. It will happen through what we give to enrich the lives of others, not what we take.

Make no mistake, your children and grandchildren watch the respect and dignity you show to your fellow human beings in your daily life. Be one of those citizens who hold up human dignity. Commit yourselves to furthering the common good within our community. Whether it’s through your church, community organizations, or service clubs … there are many vehicles to volunteer your time to make community life richer.

Give more than you take. Be other-centered in your community life rather than self-centered. Saint Paul said: “Let each of you look out not only for your own interests, but also the interests of others.” [5]

A community where people are equally concerned about the development, dignity and rights of others, as in their own interests is truly a community.

It is the villagers who make a village.

[1] (Luke 6.31, also Matthew 5.46.)
[2] See C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (London: Oxford University Press, 1978) . Appendix, P.50.)
[3] Hinduism. Hahabbarata, Anusasana Parva 113.8. (For more references see http://www.unification.net/ws/theme015.htm#6)
[4] See Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nos 1906-1907.
[5] (Philippians 2.4.)

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