January  11.  In the historical context of the time some of the Old Testament books are full of war and destruction as the people of Israel were building themselves into a nation. They believed God was on their side and the Ark of the Covenant was a symbol of God’s presence. They came to rely on this to give them power over their enemies and were devastated when they were defeated by the Philistines and the Ark was captured.  Today this kind of thinking is considered superstition by many, while in some cultures this kind of belief still persist amongst people. Witchcraft and curses are part of this mentality.  At the same time wars over land and other possessions continue to this day all over the world, with the very complex situation around the war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas even having some historical Biblical connotations.  What is really God’s will and the way of justice?  

Reflect, share. Scripture: Let us fetch the Ark of our God so that it may come among us and rescue us from the power of our enemies.  However, the Ark did not save them and the Philistines captured it.  Samuel 4: 1-11. Pope Francis:  War is a defeat. FT258.  In my fraternal meeting with the Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyeb we resolutely declared that religions must never incite war, hateful attitudes, hostility and extremism, nor must they invite violence or the shedding of blood.  These tragic realities are the consequence of a deviation from religious teachings. They result from a political manipulation of religions and from interpretations made by religions groups who in the course of history have taken advantage of the power of religious sentiment in the hearts of men and women.  FT 285  Pray:  for an end to war and a true and lasting peace. Choose appropriate action.