"You, O Lord, are abounding in kindness."
Kindness comes in all shapes and sizes, and goes by many names: generosity, gentleness, graciousness, mercy, decency, hospitality, sharing. It can be as simple as a smile or as lavish as a wedding party. Kindness is synonymous with love. As St. Paul says: “love is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4). It can be a pat on the back, a helping hand, a second chance, an enjoyable meal, a birthday celebrated, a grievance forgiven, a secret shared. It can happen in any way, at any place, and at any time for the Lord “who is kind” is the unseen dispenser of this spiritual elixir for all who wish to possess it.
Kindness is at the heart of the Scriptures. It is the spirit of the covenants which God made with His people. It is what God expects in return: kindness exchanged between Israelite and Christian, between believer and atheist, between Hindus and Muslims, between all people of good will everywhere.
The book of Ruth is a story about kindness: kindness given and kindness gratefully received.
Kindness is Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law, lepers, cripples, the blind, the deaf, and the dumb. Kindness is Jesus preparing a simple meal for His disciples on the seashore, giving the widow of Nain back her only son, returning life to His good friend, Lazarus.
Kindness is love in thought, word and deed. It is the spirit of the beatitudes creating lasting, loving relationships between all people.
Threaded throughout the Scriptures also is God’s supreme expression of kindness: His bountiful Mercy. Without it, the world would be a dark and mournful place. A sense of God’s mercy impels people to share the cup of human kindness, to welcome the stranger, to visit the sick, to shelter the homeless, to share a meal, and to see the presence of the Lord in all things great and small.
Be kind. Let this light shine before others so that they may give Glory to God because of your deeds. All decent people yearn to be kind. Still, it’s sometimes easier to invent an excuse not to be kind. Perhaps, people fear that kindness is a form of weakness, that it may not be appreciated or be misinterpreted! Perhaps, people will call you a goody-two-shoes, or think you’re uppity or too good to be true! Perhaps! Who cares? As long as God knows what is in your heart, that’s all that really matters.
Be kind, so that others may want to act in kind.
Fr. Hugh Duffy holds a Ph.D. from the University of Hull, England. Born in Donegal, Ireland, he was ordained in 1966 in Dublin, Ireland. He is pastor emeritus of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Okeechobee, Florida, where he served for 30 years and built a new Church, debt-free, in 2013. He founded Christian Community Action (CCA) in Ireland that built housing for seniors, a sheltered workshop and bakery for people with disabilities, a community center, and an addiction treatment center. Since 2013 he has traveled across America as an Outreach Priest for Cross Catholic Outreach, Inc. Duffy’s recent book, “What is This Thing Called Faith?” is a collection of meditations with reflections for readers on the sayings of Jesus. For more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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