By Steven Zimmerman, Editor
“The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today.” Saint Francis
Over the past few weeks, we’ve witnessed businesses, schools, cities, and whole countries shut down. We’ve become mired in fear, worry, and a small dose of suspicion towards anyone who coughs or sneezes.
We’ve panicked, emptied store shelves, and not given thought to those who simply cannot stock up on soap, toilet paper, or food. We’ve forgotten about our fellow man, our neighbour.
There have been comments and emails sent to me that I need to shut San Eli News down for thirty days because, as media, we are helping to present a false narrative about Coronavirus.
I’ve had to remove comments, block friends on social media simply because they’ve allowed the Coronavirus to fuel xenophobic notions I didn’t know they possessed.
The state of our collective thinking saddens me.
For the last few days, I’ve been thinking of something Saint Francis has said: “The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today.”
Walking around grocery stores today, I was caught off guard by the “sermon” many are preaching. Watching two women fight over coffee. Overhearing an elderly couple discuss how they are going to feed themselves when there is no meat on the shelves. Watching a man argue at a drug store that has set limits on bottled water. One man saying that he will shoot anyone who tries to take anything out of his shopping cart (keep in mind, until you pay, it’s not yours).
I witnessed a woman spending right at $18,000 on bars of soap. When I said she should have left some soap for others, so they can help fight the spread of Coronavirus, she curtly said, “that’s not how it works, that’s not how you stop a virus.”
Questioning people about why they felt the need to purchase carts full of toilet paper, no one could give me an answer. No one knew why.
The “sermon” most are preaching is one of fear, one of exclusion.
One mother, when her little girl said that she could share the Uncrustables with her friend next door, was suddenly filled with a desire to exclude. “Her parents’ fault if they don’t go to the store!”
What kind of “sermon” was that?
At the Walmart on Alameda, I witnessed a conversation between a husband and wife. The wife wanted to buy some food for the woman who lived next door. From what I gathered, the husband is deployed overseas, and she is caring for their young son. The husband said that if she needs food, she can call Fort Bliss. “It’s not our job for watching over her,” is what I recorded him saying.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfil the law of Christ,” Saint Paul said in Galatian 6:2
We shouldn’t force others to fend for themselves. We should be willing to help friends, family, neighboursand, and strangers.
Saint Paul also said in Hebrews 13:16, “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices, God is pleased.”
We should be compassionate and caring towards others. That woman could have given one of the many boxes she had of Uncrustables to the girl next door. The woman who bought all the soap could have left most of it behind for other families. Coronavirus does not cause gastrointestinal problems, so you don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper. That husband, when his wife mentioned the neighbour with the husband stationed overseas, could have bought an extra bag of groceries.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you,” said Jesus Christ.
Where is that love? It seems to be missing in most of our world today.
No matter what, Jesus has shown us that He loves us incredibly and extraordinarily. It’s up to us to take that love and find ways to bring love and goodwill into our community. Instead, what we are doing, we are showing that we are out for ourselves.
What makes me angry is that some of the people I know who are hoarding much, are those who refuse to think of anyone other than themselves. It’s sickening. No, that’s not right. It’s disgusting.
When you go out, when you are deciding on what to hoard, if you don’t want your “sermon” to be one of greed, neglect, and hate for your neighbour, maybe consider helping those who are in need within your community as well. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure you’ll have a lot to answer for.
El Paso Strong was what we were all saying just a few short weeks ago. El Paso Strong in our ability to help our family, friends, strangers. It only took Coronavirus to change that to El Paso, Every Man for Himself.