By Fr. Tom Zelinski, OFM Cap.
Recently we have seen many reports of strange, dangerous and violent behavior. One doesn’t know if these are increasing or if the reporting has increased. There have been regular mass shootings. People have fought in airplanes, baseball stadiums, grocery stores, bars and other places. Why all this frustration and anger?
One could logically presume that these outbursts are the result of stress from the confinement and other inconveniences of the past year of the pandemic. Whatever may be the reason or cause of these behaviors, they do not remove responsibility from those involved.
A few months ago, someone sadly characterized the new American spirit in this way: “No one can tell me what to do!” This doesn’t do much to enhance the common good, much less connect at all with “love your neighbor.” Much of this attitude and the behavior mentioned above flow from an inflation of ego, or a distorted sense of self. “It’s all about me, and I don’t care about you.”
We are often told what to do and are expected to obey. We have stop signs, traffic lights, seat belt laws, as well as laws against bodily violence. These are simply parts of good social order.
We have all been under stress this past year. We all ought to take a deep breath, turn and look at our neighbor, and see how we can mutually support each other rather than shouting or throwing the first punch.