By JENNIFER BURGIN
So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
This week I heard (yet again) another disturbing story. After a serious highway accident, a woman laid trapped inside a burning car. A Good Samaritan tried to unjam the seat belt without success. He cried out to bystanders: "Does anyone have a knife? I need to cut the seat belt and free this woman! Fire extinguisher, anyone?? Please help!" The onlookers remained silent, too preoccupied with their cell phones to respond. In fact, a few of the bystanders stood there pointing iPhones at the man, shooting video of the entire scene!
Later, the Good Samaritan interviewed with a local radio station. He said on the air how he couldn't believe nobody offered help. The people appeared more focused on the entertainment value of the accident than the value of a human life. Sadly, the woman died. The husband driving the vehicle survived; however, he was later hauled off to jail and charged with DUI.
Where is the compassion? Will people always be on the lookout for the next big story, ready to exploit a terrible situation?
I applaud the Good Samaritan for going out of his way to help. He's a fine example of an Ambassador for Christ. As for the bystanders, or "cell-phone huggers," they should be ashamed of themselves. I can see the benefit of using a cell phone to place an emergency 911 call. However, the idea of shooting video of another person's tragedy is distasteful. A person's life, reputation, and privacy demands respect. Yet, respect is slowly becoming obsolete in a society obsessed with fame and fanfare. The rush to get the most provocative video posted on You-Tube and win the day's "viral video prize" overshadows class and tactfulness.
Daily we see videos of other people's misfortunes and misbehaviors. How is posting such negative content on a social media site building up the body of Christ? Such behavior only keeps the flames of sin ignited! It breaks apart relationships; it causes chaos; and it destroys peace. Our society desperately needs more love, mercy, and forgiveness.
I wrote a few weeks ago about the importance of using technology wisely and for the benefit of the faith. We are all called to be Ambassadors for Christ in our thoughts, words, and deeds. We are not called to exploit one another or treat one another as objects. We should serve one another in ways that lift up, not bring down.
In today's gospel reading, Saint Paul speaks to the Corinthians about becoming a new creation in Christ as new things come. The Corinthians were a challenging community, hence the need to write two letters! The people of Corinth gave him massive migrainesand heavy heartache. Despite the frustrations, Paul eventually "broke through" to thestubborn community, teaching them the importance of being reconciled to God as wellneighbor.
We can all be Five-Star Ambassadors for Christ! Firstly, we dedicate our lives to promoting the Truth. Secondly, we commit ourselves to follow Christ's teachings no matter what society and the world thinks of us. Remember: Ambassadors for Christ live in the world but not of the world!
What else makes up a Five-Star Ambassador for Christ?
1. Be a Good Samaritan.
2. Pray, especially for enemies.
3. Forgive others quickly.
4. Love despite the costs.
5. Serve one another with dignity and respect.
Certainly, our society can use a little extra kindness and thoughtfulness!
“The "show business," which is so incorporated into our view of Christian work today, has caused us to drift far from Our Lord's conception of discipleship. It is instilled in us to think that we have to do exceptional things for God; we have not. We have to be exceptional in ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets, among mean people, surrounded by sordid sinners. That is not learned in five minutes.”
- Oswald Chambers
This meditation was written by Jennifer Burgin, a Lay Dominican. Please visit her blog: Jennifer's Spectrum of Spirituality