“Stop Atrocity, RaiseHumanity”. This poster on a wall caught my attention this morning on my way to the Church. Atrocity denotes an extremely wicked or cruel act involving physical violence or injury. (The Concise Oxford Dictionary). We see that in the world all around atrocity is on the increase. Extreme wickedness is growing day by day. This goes counter to God’s plan for us. In the plan of our loving God, doing good should be our life style. “For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life” (Eph 2.10).God wants us to be in fellowship with Him and in loving relationship with one another. Ever since the disobedience of our first parents, the evil in the world is on the increase. This increasing wickedness in the world grieves the heart of our Creator God, who is our loving Father. “The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart”. (Gen.6.5, 6)
When the original plan of God was thwarted, God in His love and compassion promised a Saviour to redeem the humanity from its wickedness. He sent His Son Jesus Christ as the Word Incarnate. “The Word became flesh and lived among us” (Jn.1.14) in order to make us divine. When a person who cannot swim falls into the ocean, he cannot save himself. God knew that we cannot save ourselves from our wickedness. If it was economic prosperity that would redeem the humanity, God would have sent an economist; if it was humour that would redeem the humanity, God would have sent an entertainer; if it was a good Government that would have given the humanity success and prosperity, God would have sent a politician. No, God in His wisdom knew it was freedom and salvation from all the bondages of sin and wickedness that humanity needs, and so He sent His Son as the Saviour of the whole humanity.
Last month I read an advertisement before a shopping centre: “Here is good news for all. 30% discount on all electronic items. This offer is only till 31st December 2011.” This made me reflect on the good news announced by the angel at the birth of Jesus Christ. The angel told the shepherds: “Do not be afraid; for see I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour who is the Messiah, the Lord” (Lk.2.10,11).This good news is for all people of all time. . When Jesus was brought to the temple for presentation, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, “My eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel” (Lk. 2.28-32).
Jesus came to show us the love of God the Father, to teach us the way of goodness, to give us abundant life, to save the whole humanity from all wickedness through His death on the Cross. . “You were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev.5.9). Jesus did not come to establish a religion or sect. He came to reconcile the sinful and wicked humanity with God the Father. Human wickedness – in thought, word and deed – will only ruin us without peace. While announcing the good news to the simple shepherds the angel praised God singing: “Glory to God in the highest; peace to all people of good will” (Lk.2.14).
In this age when peace is lacking in the lives of many people, this message of the angel should make us realise why are we bereft of this great gift of God. Is it because we do not have the good will to love God and our brethren? We bring glory to God through our lives when we are able to forgive, tolerate, excuse the faults of others and be kind-hearted. God will bless us with his peace when we are ready to share our time, talents, and possessions with the needy. Only when we have this good will, we will be able to find favour in the sight of God. And the priceless reward for our good will is the peace of the Lord. Jesus has said: “Peace I give to you, my own peace I give you, a peace which the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (Jn. 14.27).
A person experiencing this gift of peace of Christ can never be atrocious or violent. His life will be so transparent to reflect the compassion, forgiveness and tender love of his Master, Jesus Christ. If only the humanity accepts Jesus as the Saviour and follow his ways, there would be an end to violence, exploitation and other atrocities. Jesus came to teach us to be tolerant, forgiving and to repay all evil with good—not only through His teachings, but through His life and death. On the cross he forgave the thief and all those who scoffed, ridiculed, betrayed, denied, scourged, crowned him with thorns and crucified Him. He prayed for all of them: “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do”. In some tradition even the Roman centurion Longinus who pierced the heart of Jesus was healed of his blindness in one eye just as a drop of blood from His side fell on his eyes! Yes, Jesus was doing only good till the last moment of His life on earth. Even after the resurrection, He gathered all the failed apostles together and empowered them in the Spirit to continue this mission. There was no anger or resentment in Him, but love and compassion. Even now, after His Ascension, sitting at the right hand of God the Father, He continues to do good to the whole humankind. We only need to turn to Him, accept Him as our Saviour; surrender our lives to His Kingship, obey what He says.
Yes, it is not enough to say that we are Christians. The attitude of Christ should be ours. “Have the mind of Christ”, says St. Paul in (Phil.2.5). Only this will help us to destroy all atrocity in our lives and to restore in us the noble nature of humanity which was in the original Plan of God at creation. “All those who say that I abide in Jesus should walk the way He walked” (1. Jn. 2.6)
We are three weeks into the New Year 2012. At the end of 2011 we have commemorated and celebrated the great event of the birth of Jesus Christ. We may have reflected on the mystery of Christmas, the utter simplicity of the Saviour’s birth in a manger surrounded by Mother Mary and Joseph, the total openness of the shepherds who listened to the good news of the angel, the fulsome hope of the three wise kings, the Magi who were guided by the star to Bethlehem. As the Magi were told to go back in a different route after meeting Jesus, let us also take a new turn in this New Year 2012. As St. Paul exhorts: “Any bitterness or bad temper or anger or shouting or abuse must be far removed from you – as must every kind of malice. Be generous to one another, sympathetic, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ” (Eph. 4.31, 32). Let us thus ‘put on the Lord Jesus Christ’ (Rom.13.14). And this alone will ‘stop atrocities and raise our humanity’ and make us really truly human!