I picked up the New York Times today, and these are the news stories that jumped out at me, reminding me that the violence and oppression that Jesus confronted in Jerusalem are still very much in the world today:
In Russia, two female suicide bombers killed thirty-eight people riding the subway.
In Mexico, twenty-one persons were killed on Sunday in gang drug-related violence, including ten young people ranging in age from eight to twenty-one who were travelling together in a truck when they were attacked.
In Michigan, nine people were arrested and accused of planning the murder of a law enforcement officer. They planned to follow this up with a bombing of the officer’s funeral caravan. Members of a local militia, they had hopes of inciting an anti-government uprising.
In Long Island, a trial is going on of a nineteen-year-old man accused of killing a thirty-seven year old Hispanic immigrant. The accused was a part of a group of seven young men who were bored one evening and went out looking specifically for Hispanics to harass.
In Massachusetts, nine teenagers have had charges brought against them for bullying a fifteen-year-old girl. Following three months of relentless harassment at school and in cyberspace, the girl took her own life.
The old, old story of Jesus and his love is no less relevant today. Arriving on his donkey, and with tears in his eyes, Jesus lamented: “If only you had recognized the things that make for peace.” (Luke 19:42)
Help us, dear weeping savior, to forsake the death-dealing ways of this world – the barriers we set up between one another — the violence we commit, both seen and unseen. Teach us how to be merciful as you are merciful. Amen.