He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” – Matthew 22:37-40
A successful executive leaves a show room in his newly purchased Ferrari. Excitedly he drives about enjoying the his new vehicle on a most beautiful day. Suddenly there is a loud thud against the passenger side of the car. He comes to a screeching stop and immediately puts his car in reverse arriving at the point where the sound was first heard. He throws open his door and rushes to the passenger door. There he finds, lying on the side of the road, a brick that had done the damage. A young boy stands just beyond the brick. The executive, in a rage, grabs the boy and puts him up against the car and screams at him: “Why did you throw that brick at my car?!” Don’t you realize how expensive this is going to be to repair?! The boy now in tears responds: “Sir, I had no choice.” No matter what I did, no one would stop.” The executive shouts back: “Stop for what?! The boy, shaking with fear, points to the other side of the parked car just ahead. As the executive looks around the parked car he sees another boy lying at the edge of the curb with an overturned wheelchair next to him. The frightened boy, still quivering again said: “I had no choice, sir. My brother fell out of his wheelchair and I couldn’t get him back into it. He is too heavy for me to lift.” The executive stood quietly for a moment barely able to swallow from the lump that just formed in his throat. He then went over to the fallen boy, straightened up his wheelchair before lifting him on to it. He, then, took out a handkerchief and administered to the scrapes on the boy’s knees and elbows. Seeing that he was ok, the executive stepped away. The young boy, who had thrown the brick, thanked the executive and expressed his sorrow for throwing the brick. The executive stood silently as he watched the young boy pushing his brother’s wheelchair along the walkway until it turned out of sight. As a reminder of the event the executive never had the damage to the car repaired. – Fr. John Gatzak (ORTV- Homily)
We move so fast in this world each day that we often don’t hear the cries for help from our neighbors in distress. The executive’s act of charity was forced upon him. We are at times reminded of our duty to our neighbor in the most unlikely manner. His anger was quickly pacified as soon as he saw the urgency of the situation. The hurled brick was done not out of some jealously or spite but rather desperation. The young boy’s previous efforts to flag down other drivers had failed. The executive’s aid given both boys truly was an act of charity. Charity is nothing other than an act of love. And love demands hard things. Things of sacrifice. Opportunities to put others before ourselves. The love of a brother compelled the thrown brick. The unrepaired damage to the executive’s new car was a reminder that there are needs more important than our own. I’m sure the tossed brick and the decision not to repair the damage were both hard things to do. But, again, love demands such. I believe each in the end, in his own unique way, was all the better for it. He who received the charity and he who dispensed it. One’s faith is restored in humanity and other re-discovered his.
“Seeing the pain in someone’s eyes, or hearing the sadness or worry in his or her voice, how can we not care? How can we not be kind? – anonymous