Increasing Violence

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“Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them.”

Genesis 6:11-13

There is a wave of death sweeping across our country. People are emboldened to violence. We hear words like: “If you haven’t received death threats, you haven’t become famous yet.” (Trevor Carss). But ordinary people, going about ordinary jobs, are receiving death threats. All it takes is disagreement over a task, over words spoken, over the way you look, over what party you belong to, over mask and vaccine mandates, over a misunderstanding — and people resort to death threats. All of this is deadly wrong.

I am hearing homicidal rage in the voices of people.

Violent people are terrorists, especially those who use death threats. Democrats serving in Congress have become used to having extra security due to constant threats they receive and now Republicans are enjoying the same experience. Evidently voting for the much needed infrastructure bill is an outrage and deserving of death. Incredibly to me, these death threats include threats to families — include death threats to children!

Are the violent ones overwhelmed by their emotions, giving in to their fallen natures? Are they finding some kind of sick joy in the chaos they cause? Are they excited by the fear they instill? Do they find a thrill in the attention they receive, even as they try to remain anonymous? Are they using rage just to get their way? How can they think that what they are doing is right? How can they feel justified? Why doesn’t our justice system work to stop this violence? Why is it tolerated? Why is it glorified? So many questions swirl around in my mind.

Violent people break our trust with one another and increase the distance between people. All of this is the opposite of God’s will for humanity, for God wills the restoration of relationships and the healing of divisions. The definition of salvation for us Ecumenical Catholics is the restoration of humanity’s relationship with God, with one another, and with creation.

Violence is tearing us apart. This violence, including the violence of words, is sin.

We, meaning humanity, deserve God’s wrath. The earth, or at least our country, is filling up with violence and there is no end in sight. We are violent towards one another, we are violent towards creation. We are being overcome by sin. There is reason for God to say, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them.” God does NOT like violence! We cannot pretend that God is calling for violence toward one another. The truth about God has been revealed through God’s beloved one, Christ Jesus, who is the living Word of God.

Praise God for rainbows!

For Genesis 9: 8-17 says: “God said to Noah and to his sons with him: See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you  and with every living creature that was with you: the birds, the tame animals, and all the wild animals that were with you—all that came out of the ark.  I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth. God said: This is the sign of the covenant that I am making between me and you and every living creature with you for all ages to come:  I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds,  I will remember my covenant between me and you and every living creature—every mortal being—so that the waters will never again become a flood to destroy every mortal being. When the bow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature—every mortal being that is on earth. God told Noah: This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and every mortal being that is on earth.”

We do not need to fear that God will wipe humanity out, but that does not prevent us from doing the job ourselves. How are we as Christians to live in all this violence? We must cling to the nonviolent Christ with all our strength, for Christ allowed himself to be killed rather than resisting, rather than asking his disciples to fight for him. Like Christ, we must lead nonviolent lives. In this age I believe following Christ becomes much more challenging. If you think being a follower of Christ is easy, you haven’t tried it yet.

We can turn to the beatitudes given to us by Christ as we read in the Gospel of Matthew 5: 3-12.

The Beatitudes

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

My beloved ones in Christ, stay the course with Christ. Do not be persuaded to violence by a violent age. Be the children of God — peacemakers! God bless you always.

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