How Can We End the Cycle of Violence

In today’s First Reading from 1 Samuel 18:6-9, 19:1-7, we read about King Saul who is angry and jealous because David is rising in popularity, since he is better in battle than the king. We read a song sung by the people:

Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.

He is angry enough to become murderous. And at the end of all the stories about King Saul, his son Jonathon, and King David, and all his sons, we really don’t see a happy ending – except that we can always count on the faithfulness of God in spite of our faithlessness, greed, lust, or violence. And these stories in the books of Samuel and Kings present a rather unvarnished picture of sin. In the face of all these monumental failings, we see the unfailing grace of God that reaches us wherever we are.

We are also presented in these stories with the truth that violence begets violence. Saul, and David who followed him (as well as his progeny) were trapped in the cycle of violence. They sanctified their violence and wars by claiming that God was on their God . . . . on their side, so to speak.

When will it be possible for us to lay down our weapons and stop the cycle of violence in its tracks?

This is a tomahawk missile on display at the Smithsonian in D.C.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the only weapons were those on display in museums? What would a world like that be like?

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