I am often troubled by the violence around me in Honduras. Though it hasn’t touched me, it touches people I know and minister with.
Yesterday I went to a distant village for a Celebration of the Word with Communion. As is my custom, I try to visit the sick after the Celebration, bringing them Communion.
I went to visit the blind mother of one of the people involved in the local church community. His son, recently married, led me to her house.
Seated just inside the door, I sat and greeted her. As is my custom I began to ask about her life, her health, and her family. The tears began to flow as she recalled a son who had been murdered about five years ago. The pain of such a loss still overwhelms her.
After a short prayer, she received communion and I blessed her.
But then the mystery of salvation became all too real.
Her grandson told me how about eight years ago, his brother was killed by someone in the community. Yet his father and the family have forgiven him and the murderer still lives among them.
Though there was a sort of reconciliation between the father of the young man murdered with the murderer, the murderer still doesn’t acknowledge the greetings of the brother of the man he killed. But this man does not harbor revenge. In fact, he was going to visit the mother of the murderer and give her an injection – a medical treatment very common among the poor.
As we talked, it was clear that he and his family had forgiven the murderer because of their faith in a God who loves all and calls us to love our enemies.
Here is a case of violence redeemed by love. What a way to celebrate Sunday in Easter-time, when we celebrate the redemptive death and resurrection of God-made-flesh.
Photo of a sculpture of Kathe Kollwitz in Berlin, taken November 2016.