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The Welfare of Others

Bill works at a big city airport for a major airline. He’s a mechanic who, after a number of years, is starting to become bored with what he is doing. One day he is at work on the landing gear of a 737. But he was thinking all the while that he wished he was doing something else. After the project was completed, he punched his card and went home.

The next morning, he gets up and hears on the news that a plane had problems with take off—something about the front wheels collapsing. The plane veered off the run way and burst into flames. There were many injuries and one casualty. It was felt that the accident was due to a mechanical glitch that maybe could have been avoided. The plane was part of the fleet of the airline that he worked for!

Bill gets nervous and begins to think that maybe that was the plane he was working on. During the news coverage, the head of the mechanics department, in an interview, said to a reporter, “We try to emphasize to our mechanics that they should repair each aircraft as if it was their first time. They should concentrate and remember that people’s lives are in their hands.”

Eventually Bill finds out that the plane that ran off the runway was not the one that he was working on. But the incident really shook him up. He began to see that there was something about the work that he did that went beyond him and whether or not he felt good about himself, or if he was making enough money, or whether or not he was bored. It was about other people. He had in his hands the welfare of others. What he did made people’s lives safer.

I tell this story because there is a certain connection to our present circumstances. Regarding our present circumstances, one hears people saying things like, “You can’t make this up”, “It’s like something from a science fiction novel”. But then you hear other things like, “What is God trying to tell us?” 

We can worry ourselves and let our minds play tricks with us if we are not careful. So, rather than trying to answer the “big question”, turn to God and ask for his help. There have been beautiful experiences of online rosaries and prayer experiences. It’s times like this that we are grateful for the technology that we have and how we can communicate with one another and still stay connected. 

In the story I shared with you, Bill comes to realize that the work he does was really about other people. And in our present circumstances, aren’t we trying to do the same? Taking measures which might be, if nothing else, inconvenient—-against our very nature, for the good of the other person. So, you see, there’s a good that comes out of all of this. We also realize that we miss our family and friends; that we can’t just jump in a car and go and visit them. We are seeing our plans and schedules get wiped out and we say to ourselves, “this is necessary for the present time”, for the good of others and not just for me.

Someone said to me the other day. Turn the TV off for a while, go take a walk, breathe in the fresh air, see the beautiful trees, eat healthy, pray. I think that’s great advice. As we are being pulled out of ourselves in so many ways during this period of time, we are asked to not be blind to what the Lord might want to teach us. The Gospel is all about recognizing Christ—-not being blind to his presence. Let’s see through the eyes of faith. If you can take a walk today or something like that, breath in, not just the fresh air, but also the presence of Christ who is with us at every moment of our day. And as we take care of ourselves in a healthy way, we are also willing to do what is best for the other person. 


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