Pope John XXIII once observed that the world “must mature to the place that we will no longer tolerate war.” Surely many — if not yet all of us — would raise a loud “Here, here!” to this wisdom.
There’s something so sinister, so utterly bewildering about those scenes we’ve all sorrowed to see on a nearly daily basis — some of the darkest deed doers in the world, armed and wearing their masks. The terrorists among us. Apparently they or their agents are even among us in this long-sung “land of the free.”
We recall our growing-up years during the infancy of television. The “Western” was a favorite format. Many of these included men wearing bandanas drawn up to hide the lower half of their faces as they robbed stagecoaches or fled town after robbing a bank.
Compared to some of today’s terrible terrorists in black, those bandana-masked horsemen of not so long ago seem almost mild mannered.
Of course masks that are worn to protect are an entirely different consideration. These protect medical practitioners and their patients from contamination; they protect their wearers from allergens and other environmental contaminants; they protect skiers and others from cold temperatures. So the call for “no more masks” must be qualified. But we can see the international symbol now — with the masked face of one of those most barbarous, armed terrorists inside a red circle with a red diagonal line drawn across the circle. ‘ Would that someone would bring this symbol into being!
In recent years even a few young women who have been raised on indoctrination toward hatred have joined the ranks of those who choose to be killed in the act of killing others. In a culture that seems to both worship and purvey death.
We are of Irish ancestry and have rejoiced in recent years to observe that the Irish finally had enough of conflict, funerals, and the spilling of their own countrymen’s blood. They had to break the pattern; they had to chart a new course. But they have turned the corner. So there’s hope for this world.
It is the world’s most barbarous men (and cultures) who choose to sacrifice peace, security, and even life itself to make this world dark and darker. No bright and wonderful thing is to be found at the end of any human being’s sword. Violence doesn’t beget peace; just heartbreak and heartache and pain. Our Lord said “The one who lives by the sword will die by the sword.” Even young children in these cultures are taught to hate — an appalling thing to see!
Of course today’s terrorist cultures aren’t new in their error; the “church” of past centuries told the same kind of nonsense to crusaders over long years. If they died in making “holy” war, their sins would be forgiven and they would be assured of attaining heaven. But the One who said that those who live by the sword will die by the sword also told us clearly that doing our Father’s will in this world consists first and foremost of believing the One He sent.
He told us to love our enemies, to bless those who persecute us, and to pray for those who abuse us. What a singular, perfect, and beautiful Lord He is!
“. . . Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done — on earth as it is in heaven . . .” More words from the Prince of Peace.
We do not hear any more the reporting of deaths and division in Ireland as the result of a difference in religious beliefs or political position. Any “religion” that causes human suffering, wars, and death is no true religion at all. There is no place in this world for barbarism. We must no longer tolerate it. Can you visualize the signs, the universal symbol? “No More Masks!”
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