The four authors of the Gospel, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are credited with writing the “Good News,” the Gospels on the birth, life and resurrection of Jesus. After each Gospel reading at mass, the priest declares the reading to be the “Gospel of the Lord,” to which the congregation replies “Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.” We then take our seats and prepare to get our homily on.
In September 2004, I attended an event at Holy Trinity Parish in Georgetown, the church across the street from the University. Tim Russert, moderator of “Meet the Press,” is also a parishioner at Holy Trinity and he was asked to give a talk about his Catholic upbringing and its intersection with his public life. Russert spoke of his family, his meeting with Pope John Paul II, his son’s education at Boston College. At the end of the event, he took opened the floor up for questions.
One of the last questions he took was from an elderly woman who spoke as slowly as she moved. “Tim, I want to watch the news,” she said. “I want to be informed about the world. But the news is so depressing that I just don’t follow it. What do you think about that?”
Russert replied “I understand why you would feel that way. But I’ve been to places in the world where there is no bad news, and there is only good news. These are places where stories about the problems in the government or society do not make it into the news. These are not free places. You do not want to live there.”
Those words stuck with me as I moved into a career in reporting and writing. But if one simply watched the headlines, he would think that the world was one big explosion wrapped in a kidnapping fueled by corruption and rife with controversy. The world is desperate and bleak through this lens.
Enter Good News. As a counterbalance to the assault of hate in the news, several websites now serve as portals to positive news stories. The Good News Network, HappyNews.Com, and the Good News Blog serve as DrudgeReports for the optimistic by linking to stories of peace, generosity and love. Recent headlines include “Murder numbers in NYC Lowest on Record, Police Say,” “Hero Policeman Save Elderly Couple from Car Fire” and “Strangers Help Soldier Make It Home for Birth.”
As the Network likes to say, “Good Happens.” That seems like hope for the hopeless to me.
Image courtesy of Karl Frankowski