Violence swirls around us with its menacing tentacles. It is everywhere.

Last week, gunmen beat and murdered 75 year-old Frans van der Lugt, a Dutch Jesuit missionary, in his monastery garden in the besieged city of Homs, Syria. Rather than flee, he chose to remain behind and serve his starving people.

Thirty years before, he had befriended them, listening to their needs, praying with them. Their mentally impaired were cared for in the home he established.

Such stories fill history.

There was another man, wise beyond his years, whose teaching ignited fire in the hearts of the desperate, whose touch streamed wholeness into broken lives. Like the Dutch Jesuit, he was watched. Labeled a rabble-rouser, he, too, was hounded to his death.

His name was Jesus of Nazareth.

But that story continues eastering the imaginations of his followers, like Frans van der Lugt, who tasted death but still lives. May we open ourselves, anew, to this mystery and allow it to plunge us even deeper into our blessed lives of joy and suffering!