Vengeance and Deut 32:35

By Henry Concha

These words in the Old Testament are quite clear that God alone reserves the right for vengeance, not man. “Against the day of Vengeance and requital, …Close at hand is the day of their disaster, and their doom is rushing against them.” These words spoken about the pagan nations at that time bring to mind a recent situation in our country. We all saw the incident on TV about the Black youth who was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, MO. Not yet knowing the facts of the case, many people rushed to judgment and condemned the police officer. Soon after, some well-known so-called ministers arrived from other cities to continue their condemnation of the police in general. As I heard the speeches of these clergymen I noticed something interesting; nowhere in their diatribes did I hear the word “forgiveness.” It was all about vengeance, revenge, and fury. Their words fueled the violent burning and looting of local stores and shops afterwards.
In the New Testament, Jesus teaches us about mercy, compassion, and forgiveness and warns us against our self-promotion and hypocrisy in the seven woes; “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.” (Matt 23:13-32) In today’s gospel, Jesus reminds us of the Final Judgment; “For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.” (Matt 16:21-27.) These words should make us tremble in fear. How many of us have been wronged by someone either indirectly or on purpose and our passions urge us for revenge and vengeance. Some tell us to forgive and forget but both are very difficult to do, especially forgiveness. God is not asking us to forget but to forgive. If vengeance and revenge remain in our hearts, what will be our judgment when the Lord comes to judge us? He will repay us “according to our conduct.”
Let us pray for our vengeful hearts to be replaced with merciful hearts. Let us pray for those who preach hatred that they may seek peace in their hearts and in the hearts of others. Let us be ready when the Lord comes on that day, the Dies Irae, the Day of Wrath, that we may at least show our Lord that although we did not forget the wrongs others did to us, we were able to forgive them, through the grace of God.

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