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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

15 May 2019: Irene Jeffery, St Laurence Catholic Church

Will we ever learn?

To paraphrase what Father Martin Magill said a couple of weeks ago at the funeral of Lyra McKee in St Anne’s Protestant Cathedral, Belfast, “Why does it take the murder of an inspiring young woman to bring a divided community together, fired up with renewed aspirations to work together?” Catholics and Protestants at war, both Christian sects, purporting to believe in Christian precepts and values...

Once, over 2,000 years ago, there lived a man called Jesus who spoke of love, not war; the Son of God, Christians believe. What would He say to His followers now? Why indeed does it take the killing of someone filled with yearning for unity in a divided country to make people stop, think and do something about it once more?

More recently still, what happened in Sri Lanka at Easter? Bombing by militant extremists, Muslims only in name, of hundreds at prayer in a Catholic church released a wave of outrage within the true Muslim community, their leaders offering a hand of sympathy to and a request for forgiveness from the relatives of the victims. Nowhere does the Koran advocate or condone murder. Again, killing seems to be the trigger for outpourings of love and promises of change. Why does it have to be this way?

In March, I found myself in Christchurch, New Zealand, at the time of the mosque bombings. I witnessed at first hand the total rejection and condemnation of the act by people outside the Muslim faith, outraged by the senseless horror of it all.

Is there a pattern here? Do events always have to take this course? Do we as human beings always have to be shocked into a reminder of what our beautiful God-given world should really be about? Love, not hate. Life, not death. Will we ever learn?

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