Not long ago, I got together with a couple of former co-workers. We reminisced, told stories and shared what I believe is a still deep longing for a better world, particularly for the “special” students we served. These students, ten to fifteen years old were called by various names before the special education identifications we use today, like juvenile delinquents, bad boys, socially maladjusted youth…you get the idea.
Unlike some of the news reporting today, no one told stories of the problems associated with serving challenged youth. Just the opposite. We all shared stories of what I believe were successes like the time we took our them out to the rather swanky South Shore Cultural Center where their behavior made us proud and thankful. We talked about all the winning basketball championships they earned and about the talent they demonstrated in our shops.
Maybe I’m a dreamer—people have accused me of that—but I believe that if we concentrate on telling each other good news we can do what Jesus urges us to do in today’s gospel selection: “…listens to these words of mine and acts on them…” If we do, maybe we will be able to claim the reward Jesus promises, you “…will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.” (MT 7: 24-25)
Dan O’Donnell is a Passionist Partner and a longtime friend of the Passionists. He lives in Chicago.