Sunday, June 26, 2016

No to Violence

…they entered a Samaritan village 
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. 
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
"Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?" 
Jesus turned and rebuked them…

In today’s Gospel Jesus makes it clear, as he will even on the cross. He rejects the option for violence unequivocally, for as Pope Benedict once wrote, “In God there is no violence.” In recent years we have been perhaps over-exposed to the phenomenon of violence whether in Orlando, in a school at Sandy Hook, in a church in Charleston and on and on. How shall we respond to these incidences of random, inexplicable violence and real evil? To respond to violence with violence would be to perpetuate the cycle of evil. We must access a power beyond us to reverse the decline that sin and violence induce.

God in Christ is no stranger to human iniquity, to the surd of sin and its violence. By undergoing his passion, submitting to the forces of destruction in his crucifixion, Christ Jesus has transformed them from the inside out. Certainly this transformational dynamic flowing from divine wisdom and love is beyond our created intelligence. Indeed through his cross the unintelligibility of sin is transformed by the transcendent intelligibility of God’s love for us. We must go to the crucified and risen Lord, for in his forgiveness of the perpetrators of his own execution, he shows us the way out of the cycle of violence. The risen Christ, Son the Father of life in his forgiving love poured out through the Holy Spirit welcomes even his persecutors into a new community of reconciliation. 

Martin Richard holding a poster he created in 2012. Martin died during the bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon. Excerpts from Father Isaac's homily for the Thirteenth Sunday of the Year.