Sunday, May 17, 2015

Are You Listening?

Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”  (Matthew 25:37-40)

The Ood are a race of aliens who almost always appear in New Who as, at best, servants to humans, and at worst, their slaves. The Ood themselves seem to be a peaceful people, but when the Doctor is around, things are happening that make them aggressive. He and Donna Noble find themselves in the middle of one such event on Donna’s first trip to another world when they land on the Ood Sphere in the 42nd century. 

The Ood have a kind of hive mind, and they are all mentally connected to one another through a central brain. Although regular humans like Donna cannot hear it, psychically aware beings like the Doctor can listen to their communications through song. It’s not a nice tune to listen to, however; it is a song of captivity. After the Doctor tells her about it, Donna wants to listen also, so he does some kind of Time Lord mind meld to her. Just as quickly, however, she asks him to reverse it because she can’t take the heartbreak she feels while listening. The Doctor complies, but afterwards she asks if he can still hear it. “All the time,” he says simply.

The needs are so great all around the world and here in our own backyards. On TV and online we hear heartbreaking stories of natural disasters, war, poverty, and governments that are either oppressive themselves or seemingly powerless to stop those that are terrorizing and oppressing other people. In the face of so much suffering, it is all too tempting to turn off the news and refuse to listen lest it upset our comfortable lives. 

What if we, like the Doctor, couldn’t turn it off and ignore it at will? What if we were always hearing, always seeing? Maybe, if all these needs were clamoring for our attention all the time, we might be better able and quicker to find solutions to all of these barriers to social justice.  Maybe we might be able to alleviate more suffering. Maybe we might even see Jesus.

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