Sunday, July 11, 2010

Who Is My Neighbor? Not Necessarily the Folks at the Block Party

The great Trevor Jensen, obituary editor of the Chicago Tribune wrote a sweet piece about the death of Herman Mills, a Leo Boxing Coach, last October.

Herman Mills, a quick-footed 138-pounder who fought on the undercard of a Joe Louis exhibition bout during boxing's golden era, worked with young fighters in Chicago gyms for more than 50 years.

Mr. Mills, 85, died of colon cancer Friday, Oct. 9, in Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, said Mike Joyce, who runs the boxing program at Leo High School.

Mr. Mills had been a volunteer coach at Leo for 12 years, and since his wife died four years ago had been living with Joyce. The former resident of the city's Bronzeville neighborhood had been spry until only recently, working with the boxers at Leo during the day and playing bingo in various Catholic churches at night.

Click my post title for the story. What goes unsaid in the story is the fact that Mike Joyce, an attorney and former pro boxer, had taken in Herman Mills, paid his bills, bought his clothes, his food, and made certain the the old gentleman was safe and happy and needed.

Mr. Mills had fallen on very hard times and much younger Irish American single man gave him a home.

That fact has always humbled me and jarred me today when I listened to Today's Gospel at Sacred Heart Church. Father Gallagher read:

Luke 10: 25 - 37
. . . ."And who is my neighbor?"
Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.
So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion,
and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.'
Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?"
He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."
. . .

He explained that our neighbors just might not be the folks we enjoy at our block parties.

I pray that someday I might be a much better person than I seem to continue to be - I'll do the easy ones twice; let's see how I do when my neighbor needs me.

No comments: