Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 2, 2016
A key issue in the presidential debate conducted this past week was how to deal with international, as well as domestic, terrorism. That is certainly foremost on my mind.
Almost daily, we hear about an act of horrific violence, which brings to life the images set out in our First Reading. Often using the Holy Name to support the darkest of visions that ARE written down…on websites…terrorists are radicalizing young people and encouraging them to acts which bring ruin, misery, destruction, strife, and clamorous discord; everything that the Prophet Habakkuk describes.
Unfortunately, both presidential candidates seemed at a loss for a plan that does not include more of the same: violence…ruin…misery…destruction…strife and clamorous discord. Even more tragic is the fact that many people see more air strikes, more boots on the ground, more restrictions on our civil liberties, more intense interrogation methods as the only way to deal with this evil that is rapidly metastasizing. It would be naive to suggest that when evil people have stirred into an intense flame feelings of hatred in the hearts of so many, that more violence is inescapable. Still, the response to today’s Psalm cannot be ignored.
If today you hear His voice, harden not your heart.
If we permit the bad guys to harden our hearts, then terrorism truly does win.
On this 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time, we do hear The Voice of God encouraging good people not to be rash, but to face life’s challenges with integrity. It is anything but cowardly to respond to evil with self-control. God’s grace enables us to resist the temptation to respond to violence with more violence. It takes great courage to deflect murderous hatred with intense love. But that is the most powerful of weapons that God has placed in our arsenal…LOVE! Even if world leaders are at a loss as to how to put an end to terrorism, God is not. If we do not permit our hearts to become hard, but open them to The Voice of The Almighty, then the gift of faith which rests within each and every one of us will be stirred into an intense heat that will do what bombs and guns cannot. It is faith in the power of God which will bring about a true and lasting peace.
“So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord.” (2 Tim 1:6-8). Do not be ashamed of your faith. Faith is God’s greatest gift to us and the most powerful of weapons. Faith is the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. Faith can overpower violence, put an end to hatred and division, heal the wounds that are caused by strife, and change clamorous discord into meaningful dialogue.
The next time we hear those alarming words: BREAKING NEWS! causing us to brace for the next round of video of carnage and destruction that arouse the urge to react rashly and without integrity…before we completely lose self-control, remember God’s assurance: THE JUST ONE, BECAUSE OF FAITH, SHALL LIVE.
The candidates might not have the solution, but God does.