Do I Know My Next Door Neighbour ?

posted May 8, 2016, 7:23 AM by Risen Christ   [ updated May 8, 2016, 7:33 AM ]
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When I participated in the Parish Mission in my church, I came to know some Catholic families in my neighbourhood. I may have seen them around; I might have even stared at them :-); but when I visited their homes for the first time, we developed the “neighbour feeling” rather easily.

The people we meet are from all walks of life. Some can be very different from us in so far as their socio-economic background is concerned. However, many a times we look at our neighbours from only one perspective, that is, our own personal perspective.

I used to read many self-improvement books in my younger days that did not fail to mention that we need to look at others from their point of view. The hymn, Make Me A Channel of Your Peace, mentions at one part, “O Master grant…. never seek to be understood as to understand..’ St Francis of Assisi knew how to see from the other person’s point of view. Our Lord went one step further and broke the Jewish law on Sabbath Day by healing the sick. He puts his life on the line for those who need him because he understands them very well.

Over the years, we have acquired and assimilated in ourselves certain values that are positive, good and beneficial. In addition, we may also have gained a good education, some moving on to a University. However, not all are in the same boat. Some individuals and families have gone through unfortunate circumstances, some even had what they will say, “gone through Hell”! Therefore, it is imperative that we need to first listen and understand our neighbours with an open and wide heart; perhaps as wide as the sky. There are some lessons to be learnt from the other person or family, something we have not experienced at all or something which we managed better than him or her or them. What I learnt from my working experience, when I had to serve members of the public, is that they were grateful and happy when I sat with them and listened to them.

Mother Teresa wants us to keep that smile and do small things with great love. So the starting point is the expression on our face (smile), then small charitable acts like listening, lending a chair, making less noise, etc. If we have not started on this aspect of neigbhourliness, we can start today. We will meet many people today, especially our next door neighbour. God Almighty gives us many opportunities to reflect His Glory and sometimes in most unexpected ways.

Events like the Parish Mission, the Parish Feast Day or even visits by the Legion of Mary to our homes help us to realise that we are a community of believers. We live as a community like the first Christian community by sharing with our neighbours and encouraging each other.

~ Gabriel Sebastian