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Violence Can’t Have the Last Word


Even as we celebrate the hope of the Risen Lord, we have been confronted again with the darkness of hatred and violence. As people of faith, our response to such acts perpetrated by a handful of depraved and misguided human beings cannot be pessimism.
 
Rabbi David Wolfe offered this thought on the act of violence and terror inflicted on Bostonians on Patriot’s Day: “The paradox of tragedy is that it is a constant in life and yet never loses its capacity to surprise us. At such a time, faith has an important message, though not always the one we assume.” Spiritualizing this event, looking for quick healing, or even trying to understand the motivation of the terrorists does not ease the impact of the tragic loss of human lives and limbs. Although our hearts are scarred and we can’t take away the pain of the victims and their families, we can offer God, community, and hope.
 
The beauty and goodness of human nature overshadow the evil demonstrated by a few. The reaction to the Boston terrorist attack has been the same as it was after Newtown and 9/11—people all over the world rejecting violence and standing in solidarity with the victims and all Bostonians. The purpose of terrorism is to make us fearful and vulnerable and disrupt our way of life. Once again the American spirit, this time embodied in resilient Bostonians, has responded instead with acts of goodness, beauty, and truth. Stories of heroism continue to be told about good people running toward the bombing site to assist their fellow human beings.
 
Rabbi Wolfe continues, “In a religious world view, human life is not an empty pageant, human loss is not a final event. It is tragic, but death cannot rob even the briefest life of its dignity and its impact. Injury and illness make life infinitely more difficult but not one whit less sacred.” As Catholic Christians, followers of the Good Shepherd, we place our trust and hope in a God who has created human beings as good. We reject the violence and evil of a few and claim the goodness and beauty of God’s created world. We stand in solidarity with Bostonians and all people of our world who suffer from violence. We say no to violence, and yes to love, hope, and peace. Death and depravity do not have the last word. Jesus, the compassion and mercy of God, continues to redeem us and the world, even those who seem hopelessly unredeemable.
 
Sr. Terry is the Executive Director of RENEW International and a Dominican Sister from Blauvelt, NY.

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