1 Corinthians 8:1b-7, 11-13
Scandal! Jesus words are outrageous: " . . .rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked."
More than 150,000 deaths were caused by Mexican narco-traffickers, governmental corruption, and weapons brought illegally from the United States. Just two days ago there was a scare in the municipality in Coyoacan, in the northern region of Mexico City. The threats of possible mass killings by drug-lords paralyzed the whole region. The signs of desperation and fear have permeated even remote towns. In the small town of Tumbala of about 10,000, where I now reside, people complain with a great sense of melancholy and concern about the infestation of drugs and increase of violence in their streets.
In the midst of this darkness there are sparks of hope. Javier Sicilia’s Caravan for Peace with Justice and Integrity is a movement that has challenged the modus operandi of the Mexican Government regarding the "War on Drugs." Influenced by the USA, the Mexican State has used the military as the only strategy to counter the cartels. According to a political analyst this is a flawed strategy. Although enforcement worked in the USA to contain the great Mafia families, in Mexico there is not a sufficiently competent federal judicial system that can incarcerate the heads of the different drug cartels. This has also brought about abuses by the military, who themselves have been accused of murder, torture and intimidation. Javier Sicilia’s movement has also opened up a space for healing the family members of the victims of this "war." First and foremost, Sicilia’s movement was the first one to name the suffering of thousands of faceless victims. These families of victims gathered to mourn and to seek justice in a way that runs counter to paramilitary groups who have taken the law in their own hands by killing the so called traffickers as retribution for the death of their family members. Sicilia’s group seeks peace. They seek peace with justice and dignity, the justice that the State is unable to provide, and the dignity that also upholds the ungrateful and the wicked.
As long as we allow the dehumanization of those that we may consider scum of the earth, namely, rapists, murderers, greedy bankers, and corrupt clergy, then Jesus’ words will only cause scandal. Jesus’ life and words uphold both the victim and the victimizer. How far does this conviction guide our own opinions or public policy?
Fr. Hugo Esparza, C.P. is a Passionist of Holy Cross Province now working in Mexico with the Province of Cristo Rey.