Christ is Ascended!
This past week we've watched with horror one unjust act inside of one city. Thereafter we've observed this unjust act bring a unified voice among every person who saw it, regardless of racial background, economic strata, or geographic local, declaring it to be horrific, and stating that the perpetrator must be brought to justice. In these observations, horror brought unity.
Then we watched as the unity dispersed like a puff of smoke, and faded into violence. We note with great sadness how some who began by being united in horror now attempt to rationalize and to offer apologetics for what is being witnessed today in the streets of so many cities. How do the actions we see in the streets, burning, looting, even more murdering, bring honor to the memory of one brutally and unjustly murdered? Where is the 'positive' in hatred and brutality-for-brutality?
Christ has answered such questions before. He taught us, "Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. (Mat 5:44-45) He ended this teaching with these words, an impossible challenge to humanity, but clearly showing His divine expectations for us: "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."
When we are presented with moral dilemmas, we also turn to the Holy Fathers for guidance. We offer these words from St. John Chrysostom from his work, "On the Priesthood". The words do not apply only to the officer who committed the original act, but also to those whose violent actions must not be couched in words that allow them to be "normalized".
"Christians above all men are not permitted forcibly to correct the failings of those who sin. Secular judges indeed, when they have captured malefactors under the law, show their authority to be great, and prevent them even against their will from following their own devices: but in our case the wrong-doer must be made better, not by force, but by persuasion."
If we are to labor to normalize anything, we must bring love to the state of normalcy. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35)