Thursday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Jeremiah 18:1-6; Matthew 13:47-53)
Next week will mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the atomic bomb’s use in war. It was a shameful event. Not only did the bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki target civilians; they also violated the principle of proportion in war. Many defend the bombings as hastening the end of the war and hence reducing casualties. Other want to hold President Truman responsible for mass murder. Neither approach seems promising of positive resolution. Perhaps a more valuable lesson can be derived by reflecting on the bombings in light of today’s first reading.
Seeing the potter mold, trash, and remake clay pots until he has it just right, the prophet thinks of God working on Israel. Because the nation has not lived up to its promise as God’s people, it will be trashed. God will then start over to build a new nation that is just. The United States should consider allowing God to do the same with it. It primal sins of slavery and nuclear bombing call for repentance. Also in order is coordinated effort to correct the prejudices that led to such outrages.
We can begin the project now. We need to recall how we have allowed personal prejudices to cause harm. We also should ask forgiveness for our misuse of power. Finally, we need to pray for those we have hurt and also for our children. The former that they may have recovered from mistreatment. And the latter that they will have learned by our mistakes.