|Memorial of Saint Barnabas
Acts 11:21-26; 13:1-3
Psalms 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6
On the news this morning was a story of a radio station in the western wilderness of the United States. Although it only broadcasts within a 150 mile radius, the station is causing great tension among those in the area, generated by a talk show, where the host verbally and viciously attacks environmentalists. He encourages others to call in and join in his attack and if someone who disagrees should dare to phone in, the host castigates the caller and all who think that way, even saying menacingly that if some harm were to come to "them," it would have no more effect on him than if a bug were squashed on his car windshield.
“Blest are they who show mercy,” Jesus teaches.
I listened sadly yesterday as one popular radio talk show host said that moderation meant weakness. Compromise indicated a lack of principles.
“Blessed are the peacemakers,” Jesus says in today’s gospel.
The gospel message is counter-cultural, going against the beliefs of the popular culture. The word compassionate means to “suffer with” and Jesus encourages us to suffer with those around us, to comfort, to listen to, to love.
A friend of mine once suggested that we look at everyone else on this planet as “one of us.” Instead of looking at people on either side of an issue as “us” and “them,” they now all become “one of us.” We are all sharing this life and world together. It changes the way we read the paper, enter a discussion or hear the news: “One of us” was executed in capital punishment. One of us was got drunk and drove a car that hit another one of us. A gang murderer becomes “one of us” and his victim, “one of us.”
With today’s beatitudes, Jesus gives us simple rules for living in
this complicated world and for loving each other, being with each other
in sorrow, mercy, hunger, peace-making and the quest for holiness.
We can only pray that in our journey today, we can open our hearts to each
other, those we love and those we don’t; those who frighten us, those who
have injured us, and those we have injured. Each one is a part of
who we are and our world, “one of us.”
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