A lot sure has been happening here at home, in our own country, and around the world. My mind has been full of many thoughts flying in and out, pecking at my brain and causing me to look upward for answers and direction.
One major issue that is on the minds of everyone is that of Bin Laden’s death. For a few hours after the event, the world seemed to stand still; stunned and hesitant. “Could it be true?” For a moment, it seemed, our country was united. Though I would never be able to prove it, if I had to guess I’d say the feeling we all experienced in those first few moments/hours after hearing the breaking news and announcement by President Obama was most likely initially relief. By the next morning, however, the world was anything but silent on their many mixed feelings and opinions of the event. The hope that there could be something we could all actually agree on was, apparently, a silly whim. I have found it rather interesting, though, to read all the differing opinions about his death; whether it should or shouldn’t have happened, and more importantly, whether we should or shouldn’t ‘rejoice’ and ‘celebrate’ in it. This was not an act of hatred but of Justice. But Justice without Humility would be an empty Virtue. For myself, I see nothing wrong in the normaland natural feeling of relief but agree with the simple, even if vague, statement by the Director of the Holy See Press Office, P. Federico Lombardi:
Faced with the death of a man, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibility of everyone before God and man, and hopes and pledges that every event is not an opportunity for a further growth of hatred, but of peace.”
Of course there have been all sorts of ideas and interpretations of what was meant by that statement but I felt that it provided me with a good enough guide as to how I should feel and react to the situation. To say we should not rejoice in his death is not saying we should not be glad or thankful that it happened. Indeed he was a serious threat to all mankind that is now no longer (even if the consequences of his actions remain a threat). But, as Christians, it is still right to be sad in a way for his soul, since it is very clear that he chose a path in his life that was anti-love and therefore anti-God, in everyway. God’s mercy is unfathomably infinite, He has the power to forgive any sin. Still, He gave us free will and His justice is clear and sharp. I will say that the fact that Osama was killed on the Beatification of JPII and on Divine Mercy Sunday caught my attention and gives me the confidence to believe God did give him one-last chance. That said, Bin Laden’s choice to accept or refuse His mercy and his eternal sentence will remain a mystery until our own deaths.
Speaking of JPII and on another note, a friend shared this article, JPII vs. bin Laden: The Eternal Consequences and I wondered if anyone else has thought about the stark contrasts that exist between Jesus’ life and death and Osama’s life and death? I suppose that’s a pretty ‘duh’ observance but I was particularly aware of this when I read this and Al Qaeda’s vow to of revenge.
“It (bin Laden’s blood) will remain, with permission from Allah the Almighty, a curse that chases the Americans and their agents, and goes after them inside and outside their countries,” the al Qaeda statement said.
Contrast this with what Jesus said about his blood and sorrow.
“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” (Jn 6:56)
By the blood of Jesus we have all been redeemed.
“But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed.” (Is 53)
Al Qaeda went on to say of America that “Their happiness will turn into sorrow, and their blood will be mixed with their tears.” Conversely, Jesus says,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.” (Jn 16:20)
Al Qaeda, of course, has used Bin Laden’s death to continue their war of terror and violence on America.
“We call upon our Muslim people in Pakistan, on whose land Sheikh Osamawas killed, to rise up and revolt to cleanse this shame that has been attached to them by a clique of traitors and thieves … and in general to cleanse their country from the filth of the Americans who spread corruption in it.”
But Christ died for peace and the salvation of all mankind from our own sin.
“But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath. Indeed, if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, once reconciled, will we be saved by his life.” (Rm 5:8-10)
Jesus did not want us to hate those who hated him or try to avenge his death in any way. In the same way this death of Osama will hopefully not be ”an opportunity for a further growth of hatred [from us to Al Qaeda or any muslim or Al Qaeda to us] but of peace.”And Jesus warned us that even if we are hated because of Him, He gives us still one command:
“ This I command you: love one another. ”If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.” (Jn 15:17-19)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt 5:43-48)
Bin Laden and Al Queda perverted their Muslim faith into a source of hatred and violence. They hold their leader up as a “martyr” for this extreme hatred and will continue their extermination plans against the “filth of the Americans” in his name. Jesus came here to give us life and love. Christians, specifically Catholics, offer up Jesus’ Body and Blood “in remembrance” of that. (1 Cor. 11:23-25)
“At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet ‘in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.’” (CCC 1323)
“A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” (Jn 10:10)
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matt 28:19-20)