As I write, breaking news tells us that a van crashed into crowds on Barcelona’s Placa Catalunya, one of the city’s main squares at the top of the famous Las Ramblas avenue – a magnet area for tourists. At this time, there are at least 13 dead and many more wounded. Officially declared an act of terrorism by Barcelona police, the attack comes at the height of the tourist season. There also are reports that a second van could have been involved and two armed suspects have been corned in a local bar by law enforcement.
On the other side of the world, the grief-stricken people of Sierra Leone are searching for loved ones buried in the aftermath of a devastating mudslide.
To the west, there’s a lunatic in power in North Korea threatening to launch nuclear missiles.
Here at home, the country is in chaos over demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia that became, not only violent, but fatal.
I know what’s coming. Before long – if it hasn’t already begun – the finger pointing, name calling, accusations, conclusion jumping and hatred will spew out into the news outlets and across social media.
It will get ugly. Correction: It will get uglier, because it has been ugly for quite some time.
I’m deeply saddened and alarmed by what has been happening to us as a nation and as a Church. We’re no longer pulling together; we’re pulling apart.
I’m merely one tiny voice in a sea of louder, angrier ones, but I’m going to try anyway. Please, don’t spread more anger and hatred. Please, refrain from name calling, accusing, and conclusion-jumping.
In the end, you see, it does no good. In fact, it does harm to yourself and to others.
And about those pointed fingers. Let me propose that, instead of pointing them at each other, we point them upward. Upward towards our heavenly Father who loves all, knows all, and governs all. The guy next to you, the one who connects with you on social media, not even the guy you work with or go to church with, really knows the answers to life’s problems and what should be done about them. Nor does he know what you should or shouldn’t do or say about them.
Only God knows the Truth because he is the Truth.
In times like these, we should point our fingers away from each other and toward the Triune God. Our hearts and eyes should follow our fingers as we search for the answers and actions that can only be found in the Almighty.
Do you remember what our Lord revealed to St. John in the Book of Revelation?
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,”* says the Lord God, “the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.” (Rev 1:8)
God is the beginning and end of all things. That will never change, no matter how convinced we are that we ourselves are the beginning and end. When we forget that the Alpha and Omega dwells in the soul of the person (or persons) we’re attacking and belittling, we walk a very dangerous line between humility and pride.
Please, stop and think about this:
What if all of the energy that has been and, sadly, probably will be, put into arguing, slandering, and hating were instead put into fasting, sacrificing, and prayer?
The solutions do not lie in proving the other guy wrong. They lie in proving God right.
I am indeed one small voice in the abyss, but if even one person is moved to pray, fast, and sacrifice after reading this post, it will have been worth writing.