This is just a little reflection about something that I have been... well... reflecting on lately.
There is a wonderful priest at our parish. He is older, and full of wisdom and life experience. I love his homilies. They always leave me feeling peaceful. A few weeks ago he said (I was so impressed that I wrote it down in my checkbook register during his homily), "Sin is that which causes enmity between people." And then he said, "War is rooted in sin."
This started me thinking about the wars of the current century, including the so-called "Culture War." And I wondered if, in this "Culture War," the "issues" that we are all so concerned about are not the things which are of primary importance to us, either as Christians or as people of good will who do not call themselves "Christians." It hit me that, perhaps, what we need to be concerned about most is the enmity that has arisen in our country among people of differing viewpoints. Maybe what we need to really pay attention to is the way our opinions -- even about important things -- cause us to view one another and treat one another. So, if your neighbor -- and I am speaking of "neighbor" in the sense that Jesus did -- is a Democrat and you are a Republican, you need to treat that neighbor with respect and charity. You need to treat his or her opinions -- which he or she holds as dear as you hold yours -- with respect and charity. Because, at least according to the wonderful priest who gave this inspiring homily, our sin can be looked upon as having its beginnings in our lack of loving kindness in our attitudes, words, and actions towards others. Because it is this lack of loving kindness that leads to enmity between people. It is this lack of loving kindness that leads to war, including "Culture War."
And when the "bad guy downstairs" sees us fighting, full of impatience and intolerance and anger and hate, I bet he is laughing his ugly little ass off. Because we are playing right into his ugly little hands. Even when -- and maybe especially if -- we are convinced that our opinions are the morally correct ones.
So, let's pray a little bit for peace. Peace in our own hearts and minds. Peace with our neighbor -- whatever his or her religious or political ideology might be.