2 Kings 19:9-11,14-21,31-36
Matthew 7:6,12-14


Our first reading today is about war and mayhem in the Middle East.  Pope Francis wrote recently that all wars are insane and that there are no winners.  We ask and ask, why haven’t we supposedly civilised people, civilised nations, proud of our culture and heritage? Why haven’t we found some way of living in harmony on the earth, our common home? “Treat others the way you would like them to treat you”, Jesus says in the gospel.  So simple!  It’s not rocket science.  

It has been hard listening to many of the Bible readings in the liturgy these days. Our recent first readings at mass over the last weeks have been full of slaughter -and so much of it done, not just in the name of God, but at God’s command. The prophet Elijah slaughters 450 priests of Baal. God’s prophet condemns Jezebel to be eaten by dogs in the palace yard. Today God’s angels slaughter 185,000 Assyrians. Has anything changed in these thousands of years?  God of Israel, whose name we cannot write, Allah, Jesus Christ, what crimes have been committed in your name!  

Simone Weil, the French-Jewish philosopher who died during World War 11, spoke of all war being a delusion and misfortune, the result of the spiritual emptiness and the dehumanising selfishness of individuals, nations and their rulers.   In her profound reflection, “Waiting on God”, she says that empathy and attention are the pathways to peace.  We must have the compassion to sense and see the deep humanity we have in common, and to value each and every person in their dignity and in their need.  “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity”, she wrote.

“Are you paying attention?”, many of us heard our teachers say when we were children.  Well …..  are we?  Will we?

Fr Tom McDonough CP the Parish Priest and Community Leader at St.Paul’s, Glen Osmond, SA