Advent 3 – Year A
Oh so often do we connect violence with salvation. Here, again, it seemed important to do so. "Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you."
Given your current sensibilities, would you desire your salvation to come at the expense of recompense? What pound of flesh might satisfy a pound taken from you? Would you need two pounds or more to make up for the one you lost? Is vengeance upon another part of a compensation package for injuries done you?
Since this is an advent season of anticipation and new beginnings, it would be interesting to note how many times in these remaining two weeks we find ourselves listening to violence in the media, on the lips of political candidates, among our friend's reports of life, and in our own family experience. Simply being aware of this number will begin the sensitization process needed to begin anticipating an everlasting joy that is not dependent upon divine violence justifying human violence.
If you are already aware of the way in which violence has been built into our joy, you may desire to begin removing it and finding that joy is able to be sustained on its own. There is no magic in this process. It is the same as changing any habit – persistence, persistence, persistence until it becomes second nature.
The best persistence carries with it a substitution. Every time we are able to be aware of and back away from a violent response, we would be aided by inviting someone else to marvel at the miracle of our not responding in kind and being proactive in assisting them to glimpse a new avenue of their own salvation. This will mean staying in contact with ravenous beasts who are not aware of the choices in front of them and empathetically revealing them with an invitation to join you in choosing to see glory beyond survival.
An advent challenge is to remember that persistence fatigue is all too easy to arrive at. Keep your practicing communal that you might receive the support you need to keep expanding arenas for your persistent choice against violence in its various expressions, small and large.