Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Goodness and Sacrifice
On the 11th March 2011 a dreadful earthquake and tsunami struck Japan killing many people and destroying a vast amount of property. In the editorial of the July/August edition of the ‘Far East’ there is this extract from a letter written by a policeman to a friend in Vietnam:
“There was one really moving incident involving a little Japanese boy: he taught an adult like me a lesson on how to behave like a human being. I had been sent to a little grammar school to help a charity organisation distribute food to the refugees. It was a long line that snaked this way and that, and I saw a little boy around nine years old. He was wearing a T-shirt and a pair of shorts. It was getting very cold and the boy was at the very end of the line. I was worried that by the time his turn came there would not be any food left. So I spoke to him. He said he was at school when the earthquake happened. His father was working nearby and was driving to the school. The boy was on the third floor balcony when he saw the tsunami sweep his father away.
I asked him about his mother. He said his house is right by the beach and that his mother and little sister probably did not make it. He turned his head and wiped his tears when I asked about his relatives. The boy was shivering so I took off my police jacket and put it on him. That’s when my bag of food ration fell out. I picked it up and gave it to him. ‘when it comes to your turn, they might run out of food so here’s my portion, I already ate. Why don't you eat it?’ The boy took my food and bowed. I thought he would eat it right away, but he did not. Instead he went up to where the line ended and put it where all the food was waiting to be distributed.
I was shocked. I asked him why he had not eaten the food and had instead added it to the food pile. He answered, ‘Because I see a lot more people hungrier than I am. If I put it there, then they will distribute the food equally’. When I heard that I turned away so that people would not see me cry.
A society that can produce a nine-year-old who understands the concept of sacrifice for the greater good, must be a great society, a great people."

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