Against such reckless hate
This is what a character in a film once asked.
In reality, reckless hate seems on the rise throughout the world today and sometimes threatens to overwhelm us.
We ourselves therefore might ask the same question, "What can we do against such reckless hate?"
Diplomacy and legitimate self-defense do not seem to be enough.
What can we do?
Today's readings give us, as members of the Church, an answer - a path to follow - beginning with the words of St. Paul (Ephesians 4:1-6).
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live
in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit
through the bond of peace:
one body and one Spirit,
as you were also called
to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.
But how does this really help? How can this path of peace that begins among ourselves in the Church lead to anything of consequence in a world awash in violence and hate?
How can the efforts of individuals, of small communities, or even one particular religion make a difference against such reckless hate and deadly weaponry?
These questions find their echo and their answer in today's other readings, beginning with the first reading (2 Kings 4:42-44):
Elisha said, "Give it to the people to eat."
But his servant objected,
"How can I set this before a hundred people?"
Elisha insisted, "Give it to the people to eat."
"For thus says the LORD,
‘They shall eat and there shall be some left over.'"
And when they had eaten, there was some left over,
as the LORD had said.
And the Gospel (John 6:1-15):
When Jesus raised his eyes
and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip,
"Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?..."
Philip answered him,
"Two hundred days' wages worth of food
would not be enough
for each of them to have a little."
One of his disciples,
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
"There is a boy here
who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what good are these for so many?"
You and I cannot solve the problems of the world.
Our hands and voices alone can do little against the reckless hate that surges around us.
But just as the Lord multiplied a few loaves and fishes to feed multitudes, so too will the Lord multiply our efforts for peace and reconciliation, if we remain faithful.
We may not see peace and reconciliation roll across the face of the planet like a flood of goodness according to our own expectations and timetables, but the will of the Lord – who wishes all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth – will be done.
May we be instruments of that will.
May we put our efforts forward, like the boy who offered the loaves and fishes.
May we be instruments of God's peace.