A mob is the metastasized version of individual anger and frustration. It’s an amorphous entity having no permanent principle of its own. It’s highly manipulative in nature. One day it shouts “𝘏𝘰𝘴𝘢𝘯𝘯𝘢” and the next day it screams “𝘊𝘳𝘶𝘤𝘪𝘧𝘺”. The best way to commit a crime is to do it as a mob where individual accountability and guilt are tossed away.
Today we commemorate the martyrdom of St. Stephen who was stoned to death. Imagine why stoning to death was preferred by a community when there were better ways of execution! Brian Zahnd presents a reasonable analysis; “First, stoning enables the entire community to participate in the killing. Second, stoning allows the individual to exonerate himself. Everyone throws a rock, so everyone participates. But the individual is allowed to tell himself, ‘It wasn’t me who killed; I just threw one rock’.”
Violence is something that each one of us should consciously refuse to participate in and perpetuate. This is very well demonstrated by Christ who goes to the Synagogue and reads the scroll of Isaiah 61. However, He stops the reading at “to proclaim the year of Lord’s favour” (Lk. 4:19). He then rolls up the scroll deliberately refusing to read the remaining verse “and the day of vengeance of our God” (Is. 61:2). This insinuates His aversion to vindictiveness thereby emphasizing Himself as the “Prince of Peace”(Is. 9:6).
May I conclude with the words of Fr. John Behr; “When someone strikes or offends us, Christ does not direct us to hit back or retaliate, but to turn the other cheek, to bear one another’s weaknesses, not so that we can be beaten some more for the sake of it, but to take upon ourselves the anger that is in the other person, to neutralize it, to put an end to it, as Christ himself did.”
Dayroyo Fr. Basil
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