In the world today, “eye for an eye” remains a common understanding of “justice.” We can see it in the actions of a child attempting to right a wrong – “you stole my toy, so I’ll steal yours” – and we can see it on the gang-ridden streets of America – “you killed my friend, so I’ll kill you.”
Unfortunately, there’s often no end to this form of “getting even,” especially since one party will inevitably feel that the injury inflicted upon them is greater than that which they inflicted upon their opponent. The two parties go back and forth, back and forth, constantly trying to get even but never feeling that true “justice” has been achieved.
In the Middle East, especially, “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” is generally accepted as “true justice”, and an ideal to be constantly pursued – an ideal which has led to millennia of unrest and war.
Fortunately for us, as Christians, we know a very different way–a way of mercy and forgiveness, of love and generosity. We are told, “When someone strikes you on [your] right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles.” (Matt 5:39-41)
We have the very best example of mercy, forgiveness, love, and generosity in our Lord Jesus Christ, as He gave his life on the cross for us. Despite our sins, despite our many weaknesses, still He suffered and died so that we could have eternal life.
This “justice” is very different from that which is administered by your average six-year-old, and also very different from the vengeance-driven societies of the Middle East.
This is the justice of mercy, and it is a message that Christians alone can deliver to the Holy Land through our witness of Godly love, generosity and joy. This stands as a primary driver to the presence of the Franciscans in the Holy Land – the desire to bring peace to this war-torn region through the Christian witness and example of mercy, forgiveness, and love.
The greater the Christian presence in the Holy Land, the greater their ability to make a difference, to have an influence in turning a system of justice into a system of peace.
Monsignor Frank Lane will be speaking at the Indiana Regional Gala on October 21, 2017. He has a thorough understanding of the importance of Christianity in the Middle East. Watch the short video below to learn about his unique insights.
For more information about the Indiana Region’s Gala, or to register, click here.