We Need to Respond Versus the Violence Thurs. Sept. 5
Each day we hear how our world around us is in a crisis of violence.
You would think that Peace might be in the world by this modern man age of Two Thousand Thirteen—alas, it is not.
I think of Jesus’ words: In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.
He is our Peace.
Yet not too many in the world seem to know Jesus and His Peace. Even Christians have been not so great a witness. We were asked to be “Peacemakers” by Jesus–it is in His basic recipe for living in the Beatitudes of the Sermon On The Mount’s beginning.
Violence needs to be met by the Jesus in us. Jesus can be the calm to the storm, if we let His life reign in our hearts. Only He has the answer. Man on his own does not have it.
A line from Paul the apostle to the Church urges us: “Let Christ’ Peace reign in your hearts.”
In response to the international crisis of violence in Syria, Pope Francis has asked us to pray this weekend for the Lord’s peace and justice to come into willing hearts. I suggest your joining the rosary at 4:50 p.m. on Saturday afternoon in the church. If you have any lack of peace in your soul, then also take advantage of our Confession time from that 4’oclock hour (up to 4:50) in church. I will be the confessor.
We are nearing the 9-11 anniversary. From many commentators on the effect of 9-11 in the Church (in the USA)–we have all not been changed much by that humbling event. That’s not good, as it was a big spiritual opportunity for us. We have some time, but not a lot of it– to awaken to a time for the Lord to find wide open hearts and minds to His Plans and His Ways.
Our ways haven’t succeeded. Oh–we HAVE changed the security proceedures in airports and at large public events and in postal deliveries and other means, all with screening for danger. Yet I am talking about hearts and minds. That is–GOD is talking about it (using voices in the Church)–He is prophetically saying: Your spiritual security system is still pretty weak and vulnerable. Shore up big time in the spiritual life, says The Lord. (*See the Pope Francis Youth Day quote on the next blog; the Holy Father’s own sizing up the spiritual situation.)
Last weekend I gave a homily about the absolute need for humility in the believer. We can choose to be humble. God is looking for the bowed-down invitation to work in us and shape us and use us. We have always had the Virgin Mary’s example. Remember her humility, such as in this prayer of response to God (and His angel messenger)? She said: “I am a handmaid of the Lord, let it be done according to Thy Word.”
My homily on humility was not to a full church. For a 700-800 household community of registered households, we didn’t show it by our numbers that last weekend or in August (or was half of our folks on a month’s vacation?). So, the message was missed by some of our flock. A 9 or 10 yr. old boy was asking me–true story this week–of “why the church is more full at Christmas but not much of the rest of the year?” I thought to myself– well, it takes humility and faith to be a constant follower of Christ and for His Church. It costs us some pride and self-attention to gather at Mass and be with the Living Lord Jesus amidst His other believers in this Bowie-area community of faith. We humble ourselves before Him and reverently to one another…. I thought a quick answer for the child’s question: “Next Sunday we will hear Jesus say in the Gospel that there is a cost in following Him. Listen to the gospel at Mass and notice it. Maybe people don’t like the cost of their time and surrender of themselves to Him.” Yes– I thought a little longer about it later—maybe some people don’t come to Mass much because they think God in Christ Jesus (Who is Present There) might be asking something of them of which they don’t want to deal with. God does ask us for actions of love and faith, right? By going to Mass we are putting ourself in a place of dealing straight with God. And we know there is a sending forth from Mass for us to be loving and saying and doing things Jesus wants. Like sowing peace instead of violence or division or non-care of others.
Violence and lack of peace….. a daily occurrence. There were break-ins on Mitchellville Road this week. The police blog was in the paper. There is some violence in a break-in. People are coming by force for something to take that is not theirs. Taking away the security of others is something a criminal does–and they don’t even care about it. Ever since our break-in at the office this year, I have been a little more on edge. Just this past week I noticed people behind the church in the late night/early morn of darkness. What were they doing there? I secretly investigated (holding my cell phone in hand) but they left the area and I couldn’t identify what was going on. (I don’t think they were praying.)
I have had two episodes in the past three weeks of being involved in someone’s road rage or violent actions behind the wheel. What’s the matter with these people? There are some angry folks driving around out there (many more than I have seen before).
This is all related to violence.
Finally, in the 50th anniversary gathering of the March for Jobs and Freedom in late August, I was disappointed at what was ignored. In and around remarks that seemed to stoke racism (rather than promote what the Reverend MLK Jr. was dreaming and praying for at the original march), there was nothing said about the continued problem of violence going on in the black community that needs our concern and help. As we look for equality for all in a brotherhood/sisterhood of one people, how is it that the various organizations and movements (and churches) are not having hardly any impact on helping our black youth and young adults away from the trouble that so plagues them? A high percentage have gone to drugs and crime and then prison (for ones who get caught). A high percentage have routine abortions to end pregnancies. There is a lot of violence going on, especially black on black (?!) that needs address. It hardly gets a mention. At the march’s anniversary events, at least, it didn’t. Not from what I heard reported.
I couldn’t go to the live events, but I went and walked the area of the Lincoln memorial and tidal basin and up to the Capitol too, petitioning the Lord. I prayed for the kind of things I saw as quotes by Lincoln, on display in the little museum section on the ground floor. Our 16th president was an avid Bible reader and a great respecter of the Creator and His plan–you could tell that by Lincoln’s words that He saw that liberty and justice are found and lived as With God, Who authored them for humanity. As he saw a civil war (of a land in violent disturbance) going on in our nation, he prayed he could be used for unity and peace.
We need to pray the same. The world needs men and women and children of God to be fully who we are supposed to be. The nation needs it. Now is that time for following Christ and not counting the cost.