At the beginning of the pandemic, Chris, one of the guys in the house where I live, suggested we participate in a neighborhood campaign of putting a sign in our yard reading, “Help each other.” We agreed that it was a good idea at a time when people were suffering dearly with COVID-19. Our sign remains in front of our house and it grabs my attention when I walk by—for which I am grateful.
I sometimes travel to other parishes and ask people in the pew if they watch the Nightly News with Lester Holt on NBC TV. Invariably few people raise their hands. I think we, as a nation, watch very little news on TV these days and the younger generation watches none of it. (For the most part, I understand they get their news from Facebook.)
Lester concludes his show every evening with a simple sign-off, “Please take care of yourself and each other; good night.” I enjoy waiting for it. It is a small effort to make the world a better place, and we need every effort for that in the wake of the news coming out of Uvalde, Texas, this week where an 18-year-old gunman slaughtered school kids and their teachers.
Sticking signs in our front yards will not change anything. We must all speak up and make killing—mass killing, especially—unacceptable in our Christian world, where Jesus taught us to love one another as he loved us. It starts by loving them, one at a time.
In Lester’s words, please take care of yourself and each other; good night.
Fr. J. Patrick Murphy, C.M., Ph.D., is Emeritus Professor of Public Service at DePaul University and Values Director for Depaul International, an organization that serves homeless people in seven countries.