Tomorrow's readings remind us that we are all sinners, towers falling on us, being slaughtered by Pilate in the Temple are the normal course of human existence, it is payment for sin. Ttony has a thoughtful piece on the return to prison of Jon Venables. Just to excite the wrath of our local paper, I feel immensely sorry for Venables - as well as Jamie Bulger and his poor mother. We are what we are, it must be horrendous for Venables to wake up every morning and see facing him in the mirror a hated child killer, carrying all the baggage of a corrupted childhood which lead up to murder, and the baggage which followed his conviction.
A wife murderer once gave me the most convincing arguement I've heard for capital punishment, "It would be merciful. Father, you wouldn't have live with the memories and the guilt day in day out".
We are what we are, what our parents, our childhood, our experiences have made us, they are inescapable, we can run away from them into drink, drugs or hedonism of one sought or another. We can pretend to ourselves we are something other than we are, that we are better than other sinners, that our sins are not that important. The whole message of Christianity is that all sin needs the sacrifice of Christ's blood. That alone we can do little about changing ourselves, we are weak and ineffective, it is only when we recognise that, that we can begin to grasp that God alone can set us free.
Say a prayer for all involved in Jamie Bulger's murder - may God heal them.