Daily Reflection
March 12th, 2005

Ray Bucko, S.J.

Department of Sociology and Anthropology
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Jeremiah 11:18-20
Psalm 7:2-3, 9bc-10, 11-12
John 7:40-53

Vengeance, dissent, division, plots, slaughter, destruction, annihilation.

I cringe at such words but as we approach Holy Week we must hear these words, must consider terrible events, must relive it all, not to promote further vengeance, dissent, plots, slaughter, destruction and annihilation but precisely to be healed of such things.

When September 11th happened I thought the media went way overboard with the depictions of the destruction of the World Trade Towers—again and again and again. But beyond what seemed a morbid fascination with the destruction there was also a need to witness what happened precisely to be disturbed but also to begin healing.

The question is, can we pass through violence to peace, division to unity, destruction to construction, vengeance to forgiveness and compassion? Ultimately, can we move through death and a culture of death to life and a culture of compassion and forgiveness?

Would that it was so simple and easy – our faith teaches us to be people of forgiveness and compassion as well as people ready to ask forgiveness. But is not the human tendency to seek vengeance or to wish destruction on those who would destroy us?

The standard line for people who have gone through difficult medical situations but pulled through is that recovery beats the alternative!

This is true for our journey through Lent – a journey that must pass through darkness to find light, sadness to find joy, isolation to find community. We must acknowledge the violence in the world and even in ourselves in order to find healing and to embrace peace and forgiveness.

These words are not easy to write at a time where there is an overwhelming amount of violence in the world, both natural and human made. I do not write easily or lightly (most will remember my ability to remember funny stories), but I do write with hope, the hope that can only be found in God, even if God seems to have disappeared. It is in the emptiness that we will find fullness, reconciliation and peace. Lent is not a celebration of death but a passing through death to find life—thus we must continue the journey, not around but through death, and we must journey not alone but with our God and together with one another.


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