Good news on Good Friday: There’s hope for civilization

posted at 6:01 pm on March 29, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

Consider this part of an intermittent series.

Honesty really pays for a homeless man who returned an engagement ring accidentally given to him by a motorist:

It began when Sarah Darling saw Harris panhandling on a Kansas City, Missouri, street and offered him spare change, according to her husband Bill Krejci. Darling forgot she’d placed her wedding and engagement rings in her change purse because they’d irritated her finger. When she dumped out all her change for Harris, she inadvertently gave him her engagement ring.

“She just wasn’t thinking and put everything from her change purse into his cup,” said Krejci, who has been married to Darling for two-and-a-half years.

Darling didn’t realize until the next day that her ring was missing and immediately determined where it could be.

“We kind of thought we might not have a chance to get this back,” Krejci said.

The pair headed back to find Harris, who indeed did have the ring. He retrieved it from a hiding place under a nearby bridge.

Krejci was so touched, he started an online drive for a reward for the man, Billy Ray Harris, hoping to amass $1,000. Once the story went viral, the fund went over $150,000. Harris is now living in a basement apartment and has found someone to advise him on his influx of money.

In the D.C. area, a commuter was driving to work last week when he picked up a stranger for carpooling— a “slug,” as they’re known here. If you’re not familiar with the practice, around the Beltway, commuters will pick up fellow commuters in designated areas— slug lines, they’re called— so as to gain access to the HOV lanes that make commuting quicker and easier. There’s no money exchanged for the mutually beneficial arrangement, and the nature of the transaction makes it real easy to have no idea who you’re transporting or how to get in touch with them.

It took less than 48 hours to find the owner of a plain white envelope full of cash, left in Reginald Day’s car by a “slug” during an afternoon commute. Which is what makes this story cool:

Reginald Day’s Tuesday afternoon commute started like most others.

In D.C., he stopped to pick up his wife and a stranger, a slug who would enable him to drive in the HOV lanes.

He dropped the woman he didn’t know at a Woodbridge commuter lot and headed home.

That’s when his normal commute took a turn.

“When I got home, and I was getting stuff out of the car we found the envelope with money in it in the back seat,” the Dumfries resident said.

The plain white envelope had no markings, no identification, and held $617 in cash.

Day said he immediately drove back to Horner Road Lot 2 to see if the woman he last saw walking on the sidewalk was still there, perhaps realizing she lost the envelope and searching for it herself.

She was not.

Day was able to find the woman within a couple of days thanks to word getting around the Internet that he was looking for her.

“I feel great,” Day said now that he knows the money will be going back to the woman. “I’m glad it was resolved quickly.”

He’s not looking for anything in return. “There is no way I can pocket someone else’s money,” Day said. “Never entered my mind.”

And, this one’s just inspiring as all get out:

A teen from Bend, Ore. made the history books by becoming the first person with Down syndrome to climb to the base camp of Mount Everest.

Eli Reimer, 15, and his father arrived at Los Angeles International Airport to find a crowd of supporters waiting for him Tuesday night. The two returned to the states from Nepal after a successful mission to raise money and awareness for disabled children.

Eli trained for a year before he and his dad set out on a two-week, 70-mile hike to reach the Everest base camp. The altitude was 17,600 feet.

“I would say over 90 percent of the world’s cultures don’t accept disability and wouldn’t think that somebody like my son would be able to attempt let alone complete something like this. So it was an amazing experience to do it with him. And like I said he actually led the way. We were dragging. We were experiencing our own sense of disability as we went up into the mountains and he led us all the way to base camp,” described Eli’s father, Justin Reimer.

For those of you who may have done a couple 14ers, you know 18K is no joke. I’m into acute mountain sickness territory at 15.5K. Rock on, Eli, and may you inspire many others to kick their butts into gear, disability or no.

And, finally, has it not been a joy and a privilege to watch Pope Francis be such a clear living testament to Christ’s love during this holy season? I’ve been struck by the power of someone living humbly and letting Jesus shine right on through him. Washing the feet of prisoners of all kinds, is simply, exactly what Jesus would do. It is a symbol of what the Church, and the entire Christian faith, strive do with great tenderness every day, all over the world— care for the least among us. The faithful in a fallen world do not do this without mistakes or failures or even, as we’ve seen, egregious abuses. That essential, caring nature of the faithful, and of Jesus himself, is often obscured by such mistakes, by prejudice, and by cynicism. But this week, I began to see Pope Francis’ simple act popping up in the Facebook feeds of friends who are not practicing Catholics or Christians, and even a few who would normally be scornful of the faith.

That is ministry. That is the work of God and of a servant humble enough to let it happen.

“Take my life and let me be, a living prayer, my God to Thee.”

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Nothing would destroy my hope for civilization than having to wash some guys’ stinky feet.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on March 29, 2013 at 6:06 PM

There is always hope, if only we would open our eyes and see it. Tragically, cynicism is all too easy.

Lew on March 29, 2013 at 6:11 PM

It is a symbol of what the Church, and the entire Christian faith, strive do with great tenderness every day, all over the world— care for the least among us.

How about a word or two of condemnation, once in a while anyway, of Islam and Muslims for torturing and killing so many Christians?

VorDaj on March 29, 2013 at 6:19 PM

It is a symbol of what the Church, and the entire Christian faith, strive do with great tenderness every day, all over the world— care for the least among us.

the least among us are Christians and women in Muslim countries and the silence from the Church is deafening and there are not enough feet in the entire world to wash to make up for that.

VorDaj on March 29, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Yeah, but how many of these same people who wouldn’t steal from a real person standing right in front of them will go out and vote for politicians who promise to steal from millions on their behalf? My despair is not about man’s inhumanity to the man standing right in front of him. It’s about man’s willingness to use the power of the state to do horrible things at a distance, while keeping his own hands clean.

unclejack on March 29, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Thank you for this post Mary Katharine…

… I needed it after the post birth abortion thread.

Seven Percent Solution on March 29, 2013 at 6:23 PM

There’s hope for civilization.

……..only from the devine.

PappyD61 on March 29, 2013 at 6:25 PM

Nothing would destroy my hope for civilization than having to wash some guys’ stinky feet.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on March 29, 2013 at 6:06 PM

Then I guess you lack the humility required to accomplish such an act, and I’m extremely glad you aren’t the new Pope.

There is always hope, if only we would open our eyes and see it. Tragically, cynicism is all too easy.

Lew on March 29, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Funny how your comment came right after the other guy’s.

How about a word or two of condemnation, once in a while anyway, of Islam and Muslims for torturing and killing so many Christians?

VorDaj on March 29, 2013 at 6:19 PM

Whereas I can understand the sentiment, I get the impression so far that this Pope doesn’t roll that way, and prefers instead to model the love of Christ rather than the desired vengeance of mankind.

I thought the new Pope’s action in washing the feet of the prisoners was very moving. Normally I guess they only wash the feet of other clergy (and only men, too). It shows he has a servant’s heart. I hope and pray he continues to show attitudes like that.

theotherone on March 29, 2013 at 6:26 PM

Also, I can’t say I know squat about mountain climbing, but isn’t going even that far up Everest pretty dangerous? It seems irresponsible to me to bring a kid with cognitive disabilities into a situation like that. He is too young and too mentally disabled to make a decision like that for himself, so it’s on his father to make good choices on his behalf. Seems like the kid was being used as a prop, and the goodness of the cause doesn’t make that OK. I bet he would have raised EVEN MORE awareness and money if he’d been tragically killed…

unclejack on March 29, 2013 at 6:27 PM

Oh what a disgrace if such a despised and base cult, which worships a misogynist pedophile demon, should be allowed to continue to assault those of the Christian faith! With what reproaches will the Lord overwhelm us if we do not promptly and fully stand with those who are being attacked and tortured and raped and murdered for processing the Christian faith! I, or rather the Lord, beseech you as Christ’s heralds to publish this everywhere and to persuad­e all people of whatever rank, foot-soldiers and knights, poor and rich, to carry aid promptly to those Christians and to destroy that vile race from the lands of our friends. I say this to those who are present, it is meant also for those who are absent. Moreover, Christ commands it.

RasThavas on March 29, 2013 at 6:27 PM

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God,
rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel. Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded. He came to Simon Peter; and Peter said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?”

Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand.” John 5: 3-7

It’s a parable. Everything He did was also a parable.

Cleombrotus on March 29, 2013 at 6:28 PM

Ain’t nothing wrong with America that a miracle can’t cure.

viking01 on March 29, 2013 at 6:32 PM

Washing a few pairs of feet while silent about Muslims murdering Christians around the world tops even fiddling while Rome burned for show over substance.

VorDaj on March 29, 2013 at 6:33 PM

This is the anniversary of Hope, so very appropriate today.

thebrokenrattle on March 29, 2013 at 6:34 PM

I’m not a Catholic, not even a particularly religious person, but there is just tiniest flicker of something truly extraordinary in this one. Maybe, just maybe, there might be something wholly unexpected about to emerge in a world of arid modernity and desiccated cynicism. Perhaps something truly genuine, in a world obsessed with artful sham, is just over the horizon. Perhaps, just perhaps, the faith and the church are about to become one again, after two thousand years.

Lew on March 29, 2013 at 6:43 PM

VorDaj on March 29, 2013 at 6:33 PM

So what part of “if they persecuted me they will persecute you” don’t you understand. Yes Christians are being killed for their faith in other countries but it is not our culture with the lack of persecution that is the norm for history it is those other countries. We are not that many years removed now from it coming to a city near you and then we will be facing the same decisions that those who have been killed for their faith faced.

chemman on March 29, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Good news on Good Friday: There’s hope for civilization
========================================================

Not to sound biased,

but Hope for the Right,the Left,Not So Much!

canopfor on March 29, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Thanks Mary Katharine!

More, please.

hillbillyjim on March 29, 2013 at 6:50 PM

……Thank you Jesus…….

crosshugger on March 29, 2013 at 6:53 PM

The song by Allison Krause was great..I am surprised that nbc allowed her to sing it…..

crosshugger on March 29, 2013 at 6:54 PM

The Associated Press ‏@AP 3h

AP PHOTOS: Good Friday around the world: http://apne.ws/14BZxbi -CC

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ap-photos-images-good-friday-around-world

canopfor on March 29, 2013 at 6:57 PM

Washing a few pairs of feet while silent about Muslims murdering Christians around the world tops even fiddling while Rome burned for show over substance.

VorDaj on March 29, 2013 at 6:33 PM

We get it. You don’t like us Catholics, and you don’t like our Pope.

http://www.rte.ie/news/2012/1225/360343-pope-mass-christmas-mahmoud-abbas/

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/pope-condemns-attacks-on-christians-28579405.html

http://www.bosnewslife.com/21212-pope-condemns-persecution-christians-amid-nigeria-bloodshed

http://www.sconews.co.uk/news/6845/killing-of-leading-pakistani-catholic/

unclesmrgol on March 29, 2013 at 7:03 PM

Go out and preach the Bible.. Use words when necessary.

Papa Francisco’s act was touching and powerful. And we are witnessing the first act in the Church’s rebirth. Liberal and conservative Catholics have spent years arguing about what is to blame for the Church’s decline and this guy comes along and says a pox on both your houses. The reason why the Church is in decline is because you’ve spent fifty years arguing about Vatican II and women priests, theological narcissism, rather than preaching the Gospel. It is more revolutionary than if he called for women priests. I love how conservative and liberal Catholics are arguing about the Pope washing girls’ feet at the Mass last night. This is called completely missing the point.

Illinidiva on March 29, 2013 at 7:07 PM

I’ll be impressed when the pope sells the vatican, gets out of banking and politics and actually lives a spiritual life.
Rituals and drama don’t cut it for me.

bridgetown on March 29, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Rasthavas,
No, Christ did not command that. In fact, he showed the opposite example by not inciting rebellion against the Romans.

exhelodrvr on March 29, 2013 at 7:25 PM

Rasthavas,
No, Christ did not command that. In fact, he showed the opposite example by not inciting rebellion against the Romans.

exhelodrvr on March 29, 2013 at 7:25 PM

To the contrary — he did command that — but not by violence.

Tell me what happens should His word not be received in a town, and those carrying it shake the dust of that town from their sandals.

And, in the end, the Romans were His too.

unclesmrgol on March 29, 2013 at 7:38 PM

I’ll be impressed when the pope sells the vatican,

Without its own sovereign territory, the Church would be beholden to a temporal government.

gets out of banking

The Holy See does not own or operate the Vatican Bank.

and politics and actually lives a spiritual life.

Why shouldn’t the Church be involved in politics when it has a direct bearing on the salvation of souls?

Rituals and drama don’t cut it for me.

bridgetown on March 29, 2013 at 7:24 PM

The Church is about so much more than that.

steebo77 on March 29, 2013 at 7:43 PM

I found almost $400 in an envelope laying on the floor by a copy machine at work. I thought about keeping it for maybe a second, but then my upbringing kicked in and I turned it in.

Later in the day, I kid you not, I was walking through a lobby area of the clinic I work at and I noticed one of those bank envelopes with money in it. I didn’t even open it to see how much, I just turned it in at the receptionist desk.

GCM on March 29, 2013 at 9:01 PM

It’s a parable. The Pope’s actions, while probably sincere, takes the focus off the real meaning and makes it about the Pope.

That’s what religion does. It obscures the Truth for some lesser purpose, usually base and self-serving, usually well-intentioned as well.

Cleombrotus on March 29, 2013 at 9:01 PM

Is there any reason Ed didn’t do a post about Good Friday today?

njrob on March 29, 2013 at 10:24 PM

I don’t understand the whole washing the feet of criminals part. I thought Jesus washed the feet of “His” disciples.

Kjeil on March 29, 2013 at 10:43 PM

I don’t understand the whole washing the feet of criminals part. I thought Jesus washed the feet of “His” disciples.

Kjeil on March 29, 2013 at 10:43 PM

He did, but the significance of such an act is lost on us today. Washing feet was done regularly, usually shortly before a host would receive esteemed visitors for a meal. But it was never the host who did the washing. It was always the lowest servants of the host, who owed the host their very lives. Jesus really couldn’t have done anything more humbling than washing his disciples’ feet, as it would have made him almost by-definition a slave of a respected host (his father).

gryphon202 on March 29, 2013 at 11:17 PM

Is the hope that the anti-intellectual, pro-superstition and outright stupidity of religion finally ebbing in society?

Your Mamma loves me on March 30, 2013 at 8:12 AM

There’s hope for civilization

Bloody optimists ruinning my day.

BigGator5 on March 30, 2013 at 8:24 AM

I don’t understand the whole washing the feet of criminals part. I thought Jesus washed the feet of “His” disciples.

Kjeil on March 29, 2013 at 10:43 PM

Papa Francisco has a broader interpretation of the act. He sees it as Jesus in service to the poor and marginalized. Bergoglio liked to wash the feet of poor people in the slums of Buenos Aires on Holy Thursday, so he just imported his own tradition from Argentina. It is clearly important to his ministry and is intensely moving for him. (Hopefully this version of the Lord’s Supper Mass becomes a new tradition.)

And it was deeply moving when you connect the message to the symbolism. Bergoglio isn’t at all subtle about how he views his role and where he wants to take the Church. This is why it is so confusing that so many people missed the lesson.

Illinidiva on March 30, 2013 at 8:42 AM

Is the hope that the anti-intellectual, pro-superstition and outright stupidity of religion finally ebbing in society?

Your Mamma loves me on March 30, 2013 at 8:12 AM

Religion is a human need. You can see it in the Gaia worshipping enviro-nuts just as surely as you can see it in the self-worshipping atheists who have faith that no god exists.

gryphon202 on March 30, 2013 at 9:45 AM

Evangelical piping in here.I LOVE the feet-washing. Powerful symbolism of the new pope that he is a man of God, a servant of the people, not of religion. He can be a leader not just for Catholics but for people of God. Just as Benedict had his purpose to the Church, so Francis has his. Funny the backlash…our sermon last week at our church noted that the temple leaders in Nazareth accepted Jesus’ claim that He was the Messiah. It was when He told them that He had come to save EVERYONE- Romans, Samarians…..that they tried to kill him. Sounds familiar. This doesn’t mean we let Muslims slaughter Christians (or any one of their other targets) at will.

hoosierma on March 30, 2013 at 10:46 AM

This doesn’t mean We let Muslims slaughter Christians (or any one of their other targets) at will.

hoosierma on March 30, 2013 at 10:46 AM

One could reasonably believe that this is exactly the path we are headed down. Show me some evidence to the contrary.

gryphon202 on March 30, 2013 at 12:00 PM

How about a word or two of condemnation, once in a while anyway, of Islam and Muslims for torturing and killing so many Christians?

VorDaj on March 29, 2013 at 6:19 PM

For those of use who believe, death is not the end, but the beginning. Christians who are martyred for their faith are granted a very special place in Heaven. (I’ll let you read Revelation for the answer.) In short, His ways are not our ways, and many times the death of a martyr is used by God to spread the Gospel.

dominigan on March 30, 2013 at 3:22 PM

AP had a story out all weekend saying that the new Pope upset traditionalists by washing the feet of women. That MUST be a local archdiocese tradition, my friends and I, East coast Americans, have seen women included in the foot washing for years and years and years, certainly as long as we have had girls serving as alter servers. Perhaps in the diocese of Rome they wash only men’s feet, but not here.

This looks to me like a pattern meant to disturb the faithful by putting out in the news there are huge rifts, when there are not any for normal people. (Who are not insiders.) This is just what the media does to Republicans, so it is recognizable to me. I can’t take the bait. This is a non story.

The AP and unknown others want to manufacture a crisis that needs fixing in the Catholic church. The last thing they want is for the church to point out that they condemn all the sin they see that creeps into the church, because they take such sick joy in it.

Fleuries on April 1, 2013 at 8:16 AM