The readings for the Twenty-Sixth Sunday offer us some thoughts for consideration. Habakkuk must have been a peacemaker. He definitely wanted to restore justice and right order in a world run amok. He looked around and all he saw was violence. He cried out to God. God did not offer him immediate consolationâ€”a quick fix. Rather, God referred him to the vision. In the accompanying Gospel reading, Jesus urged his followers to have faith and to be faithful. Paul encourages Timothy not to be bashful about proclaiming what he has learnedâ€”the good news of nonviolence.
Listen to Habakkukâ€™s complaint, his lament:
O LORD, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not listen?
Or cry to you â€œViolence!â€
and you will not save?
Why do you make me see wrongdoing
and look at trouble?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.
So the law becomes slack
and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteousâ€”
therefore judgment comes forth perverted.
Hab. 1: 2-4
As Christians, peacemaking is our work. We often feel much like Habakkuk. We look around and all we see is violence and war and rumors of more war. Immoral wars, torture, neglect of the needs of the least among us seem to go unrequited. Where is God? How long must we wait? Sometimes I fall into this quagmire and cannot see anything but violence and unrequited justice. The Evil Ones seem to be winning and winning big! Where is the hope?
The hope is in the vision set forth by Jesus Christ. â€œReturn good for evil.â€ â€œTurn the other check (resist nonviolently).â€ â€œLove your enemies.â€ â€œPray for those who persecute you.â€ This is the vision which is always before us. In the end, nonviolence will overcome evil. The Evil Ones will come out on the short end of the stick. What they have sown they shall reap.
I am reading about Mother Teresa. She struggled with the dark, dark night of the soul. Not feeling the presence of God, she had reached Mertonâ€™s point of deep-down nothingness which is where we find God. In the void, God is present even though we do not feel it. Whatever she felt, Mother Teresa chose to be faithful. Maybe she occasionally saw a mulberry tree uprooted and thrown into the sea. More often, she saw nothing but the face of Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poor. Her loving face was the last consolation for many a dying person.â€
We are called to be faithful to the nonviolence of Jesus. My doxology is, â€œMay the Creator, the nonviolent Son, and the Spirit Paraclete be with you now and forever.â€ Keep the faith. Proclaim nonviolence. It is Godâ€™s work. Justice will come in due time.