In the readings for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 22. 2012), we hear Jeremiah denouncing Shepherds (the civll and religious leaders) for sowing hostility and scattering the flock. This hostility would endure for thousands of years. In Mark we hear about the apostles returning from their task of shepherding. Jesus offers them rest and finds that many more need His teaching. In Paul's letter to the Ephesians we hear that Jesus came to bring the scattered flock together and heal the barriers of hostility. (These are caused, in large part, by the shortcomings of the shepherds.)
An old friend and colleague and I talked yesterday about responsibility to confront hostility, especially by whistle-blowers at Penn State and elsewhere. Sometimes this is imperative. We realize that we must act and that our action might be effective. At other times the best we can do is not cooperate with hostility and evil.
On reflecting about it, I focused on our personal responsibility. We all have some degree of involvement in hostility. (Take inventory of your resentments if you think otherwise.) We may not have the opportunity or responsibility to heal the barriers of hostility in society. We can seek healing on a personal level - starting with admitting our own wrongs and making amends. We can rely on the words of Paul:
He came and preached peace to you who were far off
and peace to those who were near,
for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
We can also pray for those who must confront the shepherds and leaders (public, ecclesiastical, and private) of our day.