At the end of last month on 27th January we marked Holocaust Memorial Day. This was the day which we remember the many millions of Jewish people who were put to death in the concentration camps during the Second World War.
No one really knows the exact number of people who died. The number 5/6 million that is often referred to is a number of the ones that we know died, there may have been many more.
We know that it was a deliberate policy to remove from their areas and to kill them in the camps.
It is a black mark of history. It shows the power of an ideology to take root in people and to justify the doing of terrible deeds. It shows the power of evil to do evil. Those harmless children, those old people treated so badly, those women and children led to showers were they would be gassed.
It is a black mark in human history. We should never pass this landmark without thinking of the terrible deed that was done and a determination to not let such an evil creed take root anywhere.
By contrast to the darkness of the memory of the holocaust the Gospel speaks in terms of the Gospel message as being light, its beams project outward so that it is not dark so that it saves our feet from stumbling. It reminds us that in each of us is light not just the darkness of deeds.
History is strewn with acts of genocide. Where one race tries to erase another completely from the earth, burns towns and cities and kills, men women and children. But there is particularly something very ugly about the Holocaust and what came to be known as the final solution.
Sometimes when you see evil things in the word you wonder, how can this happen? How can people destroy people in a town that they have lived beside all their life? How can leaders bomb cities to destroy as many human beings in it?
God is light and we also according to the Gospel are supposed to be light. We see that light shine out in forgiveness, in acts of self sacrifice, in selflessness, in acts of heroic bravery for others. That light is in us and it cannot be hidden away, it should be put on the stand for all to see.
Its easy to believe that the world is a dark place. People often say that because of the things that are going on. But the only way to overcome the darkness is by light.
Stories abound of acts of great courage and bravery, great heroism and kindness from the death camps of Nazism. Even in that darkest of places that light that God placed in each of us couldn’t be dimmed, couldn’t be snuffed out. Even in that place the light that God places in each of us wouldn’t go out.