Daily Reflection
June 23rd, 2004
Eileen Wirth
Journalism Department
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When I began meditating on today’s passage from Matthew, I got depressed thinking about dreadful photos from Iraq, scandals in the Church, etc. If such things are the “fruit” by which we will be judged, we are in sad shape. What could I offer besides an additional, unnecessary dose of depression?

The answer came on my morning walk: Bob Reilly, my recently deceased friend and role model.  Bob was an Omaha public relations professional and professor, the author of more than a dozen books, a World War II veteran, a proud Catholic with 10 children, and an expert on Ireland. His lifetime of kindness culminated in caring for his beloved wife, Jean, a victim of Alzheimer’s Disease.  While few of us are blessed with Bob’s talents, we can all emulate his concern for others.

Bob’s legacy is less in his wonderful writing than in the numerous people he touched. I marveled at the way this nationally distinguished author donated precious time to local writers who might never publish a word. He helped numerous struggling authors including me through the difficult process of publishing a first book. He always seemed to have all the time in the world for whoever was intruding on his overbooked life.

When I became a professor, I consciously tried to emulate Bob. Numerous students frequently spoke with something akin to reverence of the impact of his attention and advice.  He was a teacher who modeled what he taught. He exemplified the service to others that we see in the best Christians – not people who make headlines but those who teach first graders to read, empty bedpans with a smile, wipe noses, do tax returns for the elderly, serve dinner at soup kitchens etc.

I read one time that the answer to choking on bad news is to become “good news” to others. This is how we can counteract the headlines that make us ashamed. We can all try to produce “good fruit” as Bob did.


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