Sunday, February 18, 2007
New York. Long Island. Hampton Bays. February 17, 2007. Mr. Vincenzo Ricardo, deceased, found sitting in his living room chair. Mummified. TV blaring.

Witnesses claim that his hair was still attached. Neighbors cannot recall seeing him since December 2005. Coroner says that he's been dead over a year.

Neighbors feel guilty. Vincenzo was diabetic, blind, and in very poor health. They assumed that he had been admitted someplace to a care facility.

Comments are made that "no one should go that way."

I am having a tough time with that comment. Not to be crass, but once his physical body on this earth had expired, it had expired.

Here's what I am thinking though ...

Mail was stacking up outside. No trash had been picked up. No bills had been paid. There had to be countless people who knew him or somehow had contact with him and none of them had seen nor heard from him in a very long time. I do not believe that any of those people were malicious or mean or purposeful in not seeing his death. But they didn't see it.

Yet Jesus' greatest commandment to us was to love one another. How can that make sense? I am sure that many of those who knew Vincenzo profess to be Christian and I am also sure that they feel very badly about his unrecognized death. And, of course, I am not saying that only Christians have a lock on loving one another.

What conclusion do I draw? We live in a society that makes it very hard to live the Christian life.

Had Vincenzo died 30 or more years ago in the same location ... had he died in any less "civilized" nation ... his body would have been discovered ... many months ago.

But Vincenzo lived now ... in one of the most "hustle bustle" parts of a country that is continually creating more distractions for its citizens.

We citizens chase those distractions here and there. New, improved, bright, shiny, exciting ... whatever it is, we chase it. We are constantly chasing the "things" of this world, limiting our ability to focus on those things on which we have been commanded to focus.

And the Vincenzos of the world -- those we are called to love -- are left to mummify in their favorite chairs.

Don't let anyone tell you any different ... it's hard to be a Christian in our current American society.

It is our responsibility to figure out how to change that ... how to break through the noise and the distractions ... to love one another fully, compassionately, mercifully, and with the grace that has been granted to us.

  posted at 7:34 PM  


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