In my first waking moments this morning I was greeted, as I presume most of us were, with the news of horrific terror attacks in Belgium. It is hard to imagine the fear generated at the airport and in the subways there – as well as all around that country and Europe this morning. The news is sketchy but the video feed is clear; we live in dangerous times. On this Tuesday of Holy Week, I suggest a gathering of prayerful energy – for the victims of this act of gratuitous violence, for those who suffer violence the world over and for our entire world – that we will soon come to a place where good will overcome evil and peace will replace bloodshed. In essence this means a monumental change of heart which must begin with each of us. We cannot be satisfied to fight violence with violence but, on the contrary, to multiply acts of love and forgiveness in our daily lives in hopes that our efforts will bear fruit far beyond us. If this sounds counterintuitive, we have only to look to the events of this week in the gospels and follow the example of Jesus, in his moments of greatest danger, calling out to God for help. Psalm 71 seems an apt prayer for this morning. Won’t you join me in offering it for Belgium and for the world?
In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your justice rescue me and deliver me; incline your ear to me and save me. Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for you are my rock and my fortress. O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked. For you are my hope, O Lord, my trust, O God, from my youth. On you I depend from birth; from my mother’s womb you are my strength.