A Mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife opening a package. He wondered with great curiosity, “What food might this contain?” He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning. “There is a mousetrap in the house; there is a mousetrap in the house!” The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said “Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it.” The mouse turned to the pig and told him, “There is a mousetrap in the house!” The pig sympathized but said, “I am so very sorry Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured that you are in my prayers.”
The mouse turned to the cow. She said, “Wow, Mr. Mouse. I’m sorry for you. But it’s no skin off my nose.”
So the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer’s mousetrap alone. That very night a sound was heard throughout the house like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness she did not see that it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer’s wife.
The farmer rushed her to the hospital and she returned home with a fever. Now everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main ingredient.
But his wife’s sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.
The farmer’s wife did not get well. She died and so many people came for her funeral the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.
And so it was that the mouse’s problem was in reality a problem for the others. Many times in history seemingly good people turned a blind eye to some evil going on around them, thinking “This doesn’t concern me!” They were left to find out later just how wrong they were. Some good folks watched as the Nazi’s began to lock-up Jews for no reason other than their ethnicity. Later, many of them faced the same atrocities and all of them faced a world war. In our world today, there are many similar issues that we hear about and it is easy to say, “That doesn’t concern me!”
The world is getting smaller and smaller as our technology grows. Atrocities in the Sudan, where certain tribes are being sold as slaves by militants of a different religion; atrocities in Southeast Asia, where children are being kidnaped and sold into prostitution; travelers are being killed to sell their organs on the black market…etc.…etc. Perhaps such things will come back to eventually impact us directly. If something bad or unjust is going on with someone else, it could easily happen to us and those we love.
This story of the mouse wasn’t about the whole world…just a farm. So it is that we should also focus on our little piece of the world. It can be so very easy to simply focus on “ME” and my needs…my concerns. It is so very possible that the problems of others could easily impact us down the road. When one of our family members, our friends, our neighbors, or our co-workers is going through some difficult problems…instead of “This doesn’t concern me!” perhaps all of us should be thinking…”How can I help!” “Love your neighbor as yourself” takes on a whole different meaning when one considers what might happen when we don’t do that. “This doesn’t concern me!”… Well, it just might! As the old commercial said: “You can pay me now or you can pay me later!”
In case someone might be saying: ”Well just who is my neighbor?” It might be good for that person to read Luke 10 again. I say again because most everyone knows the story of the Good Samaritan. Someone asked Jesus that very question and He told him that story. A man was left for dead by thieves and two very respectable and religious people ignored his plight completely. Then the Samaritan (a group of people hated and despised by the Jews of Jesus’ day came. Here’s the end of that story:
“And when he (the Samaritan) saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
With love in Christ,
Fr. Stephen Powley