Mark Mallett compares this past Sunday’s Mass readings to the violent reaction to Pope Benedict’s Regensburg speech and finds something worth considering. The first reading, from Wisdom 2, speaks of those who “lie in wait for the virtuous man, since he annoys us and opposes our way of life, reproaches us for our breaches of the law and accuses us of playing false to our upbringing…” And indeed the Pope pointed out that the widespread penchant within Islam in favor of conversion by the sword and violence to achieve their ends is not in consonance with either right reason or what the Koran itself says.
The second reading, from James 3, tells us how to determine true religion from false, that it “makes for peace, and is kindly and considerate, it is full of compassion and shows itself by doing good.” Whatever it is that all those raving madmen were doing in the streets, it didn’t bear any resemblance to that true religion.
And in the Gospel, from Mark 9, Jesus says He will lay his life down for His sheep, and we know that Pope Benedict does not fear the same because he prayed in his installation homily: “Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.”
Incidentally, I thought Psalm 11 in yesterday’s Evening Prayer for the Liturgy of the Hours also provided some keen insight: “The LORD tests the good and the bad, hates those who love violence, And rains upon the wicked fiery coals and brimstone, a scorching wind their allotted cup.” (Psalm 11:5-6) How is that any different from Pope Benedict saying that “violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul?” For those who revel in violence and demand their right to use to violence as a tool of their religion should be wary of the punishment meted out to the lovers of violence.
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