Friday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
(I Timothy 1:1-2.12-14; Luke 6:39-42)
The words attributed to St. Paul in today’s first reading describe what many westerners think of the Muslim jihadists. “…a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man” seem to fit perfectly Mohamed Atta, the leader of the September 11, 2001 massacres, and the Islamic State warrior today. These men and women do not seem to care that they violate all decency by taking the lives of innocent people.
The letter to Timothy also bestows a blessing on its recipient of “grace, mercy, and peace.” Should such a display of goodness be extended to the barbarians today? Some may think it necessary, but it seems fitting to wait for a sign of repentance from the perpetrators of violence. Prayers are to be offered so that true reconciliation comes about. Certainly, no leader of state can suffer the delusion that these violent people are ready to change their thinking.
Westerners might also examine their consciences. The hedonism that passes for sophistication in many circles is corrupting our sensitivities. The individualism that is touted as the expression of freedom is depleting common resources. The 9-11 attacks and the persecution of Christians in Syria and Iraq are proof that world civilization has not advanced as much as some think. Contemporary sophistry in Western culture indicates that it contributes to the disintegration of the general welfare.