We’re not allowed to commit genocide or ethnic cleansing, even if it would work. We aren’t allowed to wage war against a certain race or all the adherents to a certain religion; only against the soldiers who kill in the name of race or religion. And even then, we have to act justly. We have to do what we can to avoid breaking what does not absolutely need to be broken. And if we can’t manage to do that, it would be better to die. It would be better to be thrown in the sea with millstones around our necks, than to commit genocide in the name of our country or the name of our Faith.
Besides that– besides any ethical consideration at all– genocide has been tried, and it doesn’t work. Killing has been tried as a means and found wanting. Nations and faiths have been using violence against nations and faiths for as long as there have been human beings. If waging war on a nation or a creed could bring about an end to violence, violence would have ended long before you or I were born. If a killing could end killing, killing would be done with by now. Cain, the first son, killed Abel, the second son, and we have been killing our brothers ever since. It does not work to bring peace. It can’t. Blood begets blood, strife begets strife, the sword begets the sword and peace begets peace.
Which brings me to the Year of Mercy.
Don’t wait for the Year of Mercy to be over. Live mercifully today, and every day until the Year of Mercy ends. Then, in your heart and in your home, declare another year of mercy. Declare that your lifetime be a Life of Mercy.
Mercy has never been tried and found wanting. It may not always save our natural lives; it may not buy us another day, as fighting against an attacker sometimes does. But unjust war cannot save us either. Like it or not, we’re all going to die. It may be murder or a terrorist attack, or it may be your cholesterol or your cigarette habit. But something is going to get you, in the end. One day, all your fighting will not be enough. One day, you will stand before the Throne and give answer for the life that was allotted to you. One day, you will be called to the Wedding Feast, whether your garment is stained or unstained. One day, you will be counted, either as a sheep or a goat, as wheat or chaff. Neither the sword nor mercy can save you from physical death.
But mercy can save your soul. Not our mercy, for we have none, the mercy of God.
Mercy could bring us back to the Lord’s fold. Mercy could make us whole again– so whole that if an enemy murders us, if he slits our throats in a church, we would only go on living in the Father’s house. Just as we trust Father Jacques Hamel is living now, living in perfect bliss. We can join him there, through his intercession and the intercession of all the holy ones, if we choose mercy.
Don’t await the end of the Year of Mercy.
There will come a day when it will be too late, to agree to live by Mercy instead of the sword. Don’t look forward to that day.
Mercy is your only hope.
(image via Pixabay)