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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

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Jeremiah 14:17-22
Psalm 79
Matthew 13:35-43

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stop terrorism

"Terror comes instead." —Jeremiah 14:19

Jeremiah wept over the sins of God's people and its consequent, overwhelming destruction (Jer 14:17). The people were waiting "for a time of healing, but terror" came instead (Jer 14:19). Jeremiah's response to this terrorism was: "We recognize, O Lord, our wickedness, the guilt of our fathers; that we have sinned against You" (Jer 14:20). Surprisingly, Jeremiah and some of God's people focused first not on the sins of the terrorists but on their own sins (see Mt 7:5). They did not assume that they were totally innocent victims. They took terror and terrorism as a call to personal repentance.

We likewise have experienced terror and terrorism. Naturally, we have focused on the terrible sins of the Rogues' Gallery of terrorists from Lenin to Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Castro, Hussein, and Bin Ladin. However, focusing first on others' sins is extremely impractical. It helps neither them nor us to repent, and we are left with terror promising to re-emerge in ever more devastating ways.

The only way to break out of the rut of focusing on the sins of our enemies is to turn to the crucified Jesus and receive the miracle of forgiveness. When we forgive our enemies, we are no longer spiritually paralyzed but free to do something practical, powerful, and long-lasting about terror and terrorists.

Stop terrorism through repentance and forgiveness.

Prayer:  Father, forgive me as I forgive those who terrorize me (see Mt 6:12).

Promise:  "Then the saints will shine like the sun in their Father's kingdom. Let everyone heed what he hears!" —Mt 13:43

Praise:  Martha was, with much prayer, able to have compassion on the man who killed her son and plead for his life.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Forgiveness on audio AV 54-1 or video V-54.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert A. Stricker, December 13, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 18, 2003