Today, I pray for all the victims of war and violence in the world. What is happening in Syria and Iraq may seem a world away from where I am. But anything that happens in our global village affects me. And this one makes me utterly sad. I feel violated and outraged with every violent death I read or hear about in the news. And it is even more tragic to see how the response to the violence inflicted upon others is even more violence to stop and eliminate the perpetuators. The Pope recently visited Albania where Muslims and Christians live in harmony and brotherhood, with mutual respect for one another. There is another way. We have an alternative. We have a choice.
And yet,through all the centuries, it seems men have never learned. Herod was piqued by John the Baptist for decrying his adulterous ways. First he had him arrested and jailed; and later he had him killed. In the dark days of Martial Law in the Philippines, people who protested were rounded up in jails and the their leaders salvaged (the local term coined to describe extra-judicial killings.) And in Syria and Iraq, people of a different belief or of different tribes are killed just because they are different.
When will we ever learn?
In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening,
and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying,
“John has been raised from the dead”;
others were saying, “Elijah has appeared”;
still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.”
But Herod said, “John I beheaded.
Who then is this about whom I hear such things?”
And he kept trying to see him.