|San Clemente Church, Rome: Crucifixion with Doves.|
Revenge because someone must pay for the lives lost, the injured who are suffering and the family and friends who grieve. Revenge wants to make it clear: We will not suffer this kind of horror ever again.
I have a priest friend who over twenty-five years ago was on a plane that was leaving Israel, when hijackers commandeered it and threatened to blow up the plane unless the pilot flew the hijackers to Lebanon. They demonstrated their determination by executing one of the passengers. The tourists and business people on the plane were terrified, not knowing if maybe they would be next.
“I knew I had to forgive these men,” my friend said. “I did not want to die with hate in my heart.
So, I prayed for the ability to forgive them.” He believes that he received that grace then and it is still with him now.
After many days in captivity he and his fellow passengers were released. The hijackers had made their point.
At this stage the motivation of the young brothers who have disgraced their cause and brutally hurt so many people is unknown. We can only guess that anger at our country and jealousy formed some kind of a foundation for their actions
With the elder brother now dead, the younger brother is in custody and the only one who can tell us what spirit drove them to want to kill as many people as possible
When I think of senseless murder, the words of Our Lord seem particularly relevant: “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23;34)
The essence of the Gospel is forgiveness. It is nearly always difficult to forgive but sometimes it is hard, very hard to do.