President Barack Obama announced, “Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world, the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda… Over the last 10 years…the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority… After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. …Americans understand the costs of war. …Today, at my direction, the United States launched…killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body. …today's achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people. …Let us remember that we can do these…because of who we are…under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” – CNN
“Pilate said to (Jesus), “What is truth?”…” (John 18:38, NAB)
Just not so long ago, on Holy Thursday, April 21, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI asked whether Western society has lost interest in the Christian faith that shaped its culture. The people of the Western world now seem to be “to a large extent a people of unbelief and distance from God. Is it perhaps that the West, the heartlands of Christianity, are tired of their faith?”
In the Urbi et orbi (to Rome and the world) message for this Easter, Pope Benedict XVI shared that on the day of the Resurrection, when heaven rejoices and “all is peace and gladness”, this “is not so on earth!
Here, in this world of ours, the Easter Alleluia still contrasts with the cries and laments that arise from so many painful situations: deprivation, hunger, disease, war, violence. Yet, it was for this that Christ died and rose again!”
Are the actions of governments taken today, in the name of counter terrorism, shining examples of faith? Well, I am in absolutely no position to comment on this…not having been there during the 9/11 attacks…not there when the Twin Towers collapsed to the ground…Ground Zero…not seeing the rescue workers, inhaling the toxic fumes, digging the mangle of steel and concrete…trying to save lives.
As part of the one human race, created in the image of God, it saddens me that during this Holy Easter season, after journeying through the 40 days of Lent…the Holy Week…witnessing how Jesus journeyed the Via Dolorosa, washed the feet of His disciples, agonized in the Garden, and freely died on the Cross to redeem humanity, we still hear the clear echoes of “Crucify him, Crucify him!”...we continue to witness the scourging of human dignity in the world today...we witness political superpowers playing judge and "God".
Well, has the 10-year pursuit and killing of this one symbol of terrorism, put a closure to this continuous destruction of human lives? Has this brutal act of an-eye-for-an-eye, heal the wounds of humanity? Put a closure to the pain? Brought back lost lives? Has the lost of this one life and sacrifice of so many other innocents made this world a safer place?? Has selfish political agenda triumph over humanity again? What is it that is truly terrorizing the world today??
We take some quiet time and simply ponder on Scriptures...
“But understand this: there will be terrifying times in the last days. People will be self-centered and lovers of money, proud, haughty, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, callous, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, as they make a pretense of religion but deny its power…” (2 Timothy 3:1-5, NAB)
“…wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.” (James 3:17-18, NAB)
“Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19, NAB)
We must remember that vengeance, if any, belongs to God alone, who always judges with ultimate fairness and equity.
This Easter season, as we recall the Divine Light that dazzled the guards at Jesus’ tomb, we must also ensure that this Light, traversing time and space, continue to shine through our lives today, as pilgrims on this earth, journeying home, lighting up the darkness of death and bringing about in this world the true splendor of God.
As finite human beings, we will not have the answers to many questions and sufferings but we simply know that innocent Jesus suffered as we do, in fact, so much more on the path to Golgotha, and He will always be faithfully by our side to help us, to heal us...to be our companion throughout this journey.
“Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever.” (1 John 2:17, NAB)
“…Father, forgive them, they know not what they do…” (Luke 23:34, NAB)