Why Can’t We All Just get Along?”- Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time
I’ve also had the space and time to finish a long piece for The Way, a periodical on Ignatian Spirituality published out of the UK. It is a response to a conference on Ignatian Spirituality for a world in flux.
Today’s Second Reading, from Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, has some helpful advice about relationships. Paul is basically saying, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another … Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Paul says something similar about marriage partners. However, his words can be too tied to his questionable views of women. Is he a misogynist?
So, let’s just say that the good advice he offers about relationships is generally good, but not particularly good in the case of mature relationships between marriage partners. But that general advice about being kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving is not bad advice for our personal and workplace relationships.
Over my forty years of Jesuit life, I have often been either a superior or the Director of an apostolate or in some function of leadership. In other words, the “boss.” I’m so grateful that those roles are in the past.
The most difficult aspect of the roles was dealing with political issues in the interpersonal relationships of the team of women and men who were working together. It’s nothing unusual – just the normal tensions and politics of people trying to work together.
I often felt like walking into a work space (the staff room, a kitchen) and shouting, “Why can’t we all just get along!” Saint Paul’s advice about kindness, tender hearts, and forgiveness would go a long way in staff rooms and in homes.
I’ve started to mutter this rhetorical question to myself about world events. And certainly about the Church, where something much stronger and more serious than niceness needs to happen.
I’ll use one of my posts in September to add my personal thoughts on the sad situation in the Church that’s not going to disappear anytime soon. I’m not sure what can be added to the many words that have been written and pronounced. But I’ll try.
With civic, provincial, federal and global matters, there is a dire need for civility and cooperation. Some elected officials (never to be mistaken for leaders) utter such inanity and act with reckless disregard for world peace! I want to go before the United Nations or NATO or Parliament or the G7 or G20, and shout, “Why can’t we all just get along!”
This starts with the simple and humble act of actually listening to the others in a dialogue. Perhaps then, we’ll be closer to kindness, tender-heartedness, and forgiveness.