The news hasn’t been good. Social media sites are replete witih messages about mortality.
The more recent trend offers wide-ranging commentary on the death of Robin Williams. Even the Vatican newspaper (L’Osservatore Romano) reported on it. The news of his death was both sudden and sad. Tweets and posts recall with appreciate fondness the joy he brought to audiences through his comic genius. (And thanks to digital technology, the happiness can be relived in audio and video.) The talk on social networks about this is raising a loud voice about this mental health issue amid the otherwise pervasive silence. Hopefully, it will also generate support for dealing with it.
A more devastating trend is the outcry about the continuing barbarity in Iraq. None of those being slaughtered “over there” garners the (well-deserved) fame of a Hollywood star. Yet despite the anonymity, these deaths should also move our minds and hearts to respond. The scenes are quite graphic (see this video of an execution), but the reality demands our attention. The actions are abhorrent, including
- the public massacre of people solely because they are Christians
- the forced abductions and expulsions of tens of thousands of people
- the gleeful destruction of worship sites, religious symbols, and priceless cultural artifacts.
Social networks help to spread the message, such as the Holy Father’s appeal to the United Nations, in which he pleads that
“The violent attacks that are sweeping across Northern Iraq cannot but awaken the consciences of all men and women of goodwill to concrete acts of solidarity by protecting those affected or threatened by violence and assuring the necessary and urgent assistance for the many displaced people as well as their safe return to their cities and their homes.”
Digital media also provides some forums for a broad-based, collective response, such as this attempt at a “rescue” by political intervention.
But the spectre of death, particularly as it results from the organized and systematic evil of religious genocide, calls for a more dramatic response, an appeal to a power that transcends the despicable sinfulness of any human regime. This type of response goes beyond what political powers can do. It can be made by anyone and everyone – or at least by those who value the dignity of human life. All of us can PRAY …
- for those being martyred … to live
- for those wielding weapons … to stop
- for those who live in fear … to be comforted
- for those who remain indifferent … to be converted.
On this solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she who brought to life the Redeemder of humanity, #prayforpeace that only God can give.