San Bernardino, Colorado Springs, Paris, Beirut — our world is changing around us. We are experiencing a new reality. Pope Francis put it well in addressing the leadership of the Church in Italy: “It can be said that today we do not live in an age of change but in a change of age.”
Taking cover, circling the wagons and waiting for things to get back to normal won’t cut it. There is, as the Holy Father said, a new normal emerging and we must deal with it. If we run away from it, if we cower with fear, it will overwhelm us. If we engage the new age, the new reality becomes manageable.
Recent violent events here and abroad and the piecemeal war that is oozing out of the Middle East and Africa to our very doorstep have stripped away our security blanket leaving us feeling naked and vulnerable. Panicked, we see only enemies and are blinded to the bewilderment and suspicions of others who stand equally naked and vulnerable.
Compassion and mercy are abandoned in the name of self-preservation. We trust no one — even God, reverting to the law of the jungle.
It does not have to be that way. Jesus teaches a different way — a way that calls us to share one another’s burdens, a way that replaces fear with faith, a way that tempers power with prudence. Peace and security are not found in withdrawal from the world, but through engagement, for “as the Lord’s disciples, we are called to live as a community which is the salt of the earth and the light of the world. (cf. Mt 5:13-16). Evangelii Gaudium 92
Image Credit: Markus Grossalber on Flickr