Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter
(Acts 19:1-8; John 16:29-33)
As we pray for our war dead today, we need to face the horror of it all. Once a movie featuring the British Air Force during World War I exposed the frivolousness with which aviators spoke about battle. The film made clear that only because they never witnessed the actual deaths or saw the remains of fallen comrades, could pilots boast of the glory of combat. Surely, a more realistic viewpoint is that of the infantryman like Wilfred Owen, the English poet who died in World War I. He writes that if we could see war’s vile and gore, we would not say “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” (that it is a sweet and noble thing to die for one’s country).
In the gospel Jesus assures us that despite the horror of war or of any other evil, we can be at peace. We need not worry because he has conquered the twin nemeses of evil and death. We only have to remain close to him. And if we, like his disciples, find ourselves separated from him, we only have to turn again in his direction asking forgiveness.