THE tragic events in recent weeks such as the deaths of two innocent people in the Martin Place siege have perhaps tempted us to feel that we are the helpless victims of forces of hate in a world out of control.
The “evil is among us” front-page headline of a recent tabloid newspaper seems to confirm that response.
On the other hand, it was good to see the quick response of a young woman to reassure Muslim people she would “ride with” them if they felt threatened by a backlash on public transport – an initiative taken up on social media nationwide and even overseas.
While we cannot ignore real dangers, it is timely to ponder the inspiring words of Catholic United States Senator Robert Kennedy, who was himself sadly to suffer assassination:
“Few of us will have the greatness to bend history itself, But each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.
It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.
Each time we stand up for an ideal, or act to improve the lot of others, or strike out against injustice, we send forth a tiny ripple of hope and, crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
Since those words were spoken to South African youth in 1966, some “walls of oppression” have come down, due to the courage and perseverance of many individuals and nations.
In working to overcome injustice and other evils, we would of course simply be heeding the words of St Paul: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with goodness”.
Fr Ron Perrett