Empathy is an extraordinarily important natural virtue. Empathy is the quality or condition by which a person, when seeing pain and suffering in the lives of others, can enter into that suffering so powerfully that he or she actually experiences (to a limited extent) what the suffering person is going through. While this is a great virtue, and countless numbers of people exercise it very well, when crises develop and tragic situations arise, there ought to be a more universal and generous response than is actually the case. To a great extent, that response can be measured directly in terms of the media presentation. The last time I saw a count, more than $30 Million had been sent to aid the victims of the Boston marathon, while the much more extensive, agonizing and destructive explosion in West, Texas, had not yet generated a million dollars in donations.
What will be the response to Oklahoma tornado tragedy?
The destruction is beyond imagination. While fatalities and even injuries were relatively low given the massiveness of the storm, the destruction of homes is simply unbelievable. Fortunately, virtually every tv network has been posting telephone numbers and internet links to accept even ten dollar contributions. Can you imagine the effect on the suffering people of Moore if half of the employees in this country sent in their $10? The media people are right to ask us for such a low, managable amount, to encourage everyone to participate, but unless the viewers act on their empathy, we will be left with them shaking their heads and saying “what a shame” but not acting on it.
Empathy exists in the human heart. Shouldn’t we extend it, in this case, to an entire nation? Please consider reaching out to these now homeless and desperate citizens of Oklahoma. I believe empathy generates great returns in God’s divine bookkeeping. Remember our Lord’s words, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”