Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Newtown - Boston: What's Next?

When will the violence end?  When will see the time when people can live together in peace, not with hate in their hearts but with love and compassion for others?  Will we ever see the day?
We have been witnesses here in the United States of numerous events which brought death and destruction to others:  the attack on September 11, 2001; numerous school and college shootings; bombing of buildings, and the list can go on and on.  We struggle with the aftermath of these horrific incidents and yet they continue to occur.  Even following the massacre in Boston this Monday there are reports of bomb threats being made to government buildings, poisoned pen letters being sent to government officials, etc.  There seems to be no end of evil and hatred in our society.
Perhaps our view of human life has something to do with it.  When we cease to see the value of each human life, we can readily find reasons to snuff it out.  This is obvious when we witness such tragedies as Newtown and Boston.  We need to recover the sense that all human life is precious from the "womb to the tomb" as the saying goes.
Some of the perpetrators of these horrific crimes may have been mentally unbalanced, but there are others that are driven to these acts by sheer hatred - whether it be motivated by a sense of rejection by others or for political reasons.
We are currently in the Easter season in the Christian tradition - a time of new life, of joy, of hope for the future.  These things are now tainted by what happened on Monday in Boston, Massachusetts.  But as Christians we know that Easter must always follow a "Good Friday."  Let me share with you some thoughts just written by my friend, Father James Martin, S.J. of America magazine.  He says:
When Jesus was crucified his friends and family...must have had...overwhelming emotions.  Seeing Jesus beaten, bloodied and finally nailed to the cross must have seemed unbelievable.  How can this be?  Just the week before, on Palm Sunday, Jesus was moving through the great city in triumph....I imagine that some of those who lost loved ones, and saw loved ones injured, felt something of the same yesterday in Boston....Boston is now back in Good Friday.  And one insight of that terrible day is that we do not have a God who does not understand suffering.   Jesus is not someone who does not understand pain.  Jesus is with us in our suffering, not only because he loves us but because he suffered.  But suffering is never the last word.  There is always the possibility of new life.  How will this happen?  It may be difficult to see now, as it was impossible for the disciples on Good Friday to see, but the God who has suffered is ready to help us....That was true in Jerusalem 2000 years ago and it is true in Boston today.
May we be joined in solidarity with the suffering families in Boston and in all the areas of the world where suffering and tension is being played out:  Afghanistan, Syria, and on the Korean peninsula.  May the Spirit of the risen Christ help us to see the value in all of human life and continue to pray and work toward the day when all can live in peace and harmony because we are all God's children.
The Magnificat of Resurrection
My soul proclaims and my spirit rejoices, O Faithful God,
because you have removed the stone which was rolled over our hearts and we are risen.
Yes, from this day all generations will call us blessed for God
has called us forth from death and we have responded.
Holy is the name of God, and compassion reaches from age to age
for those who walk hand in hand with the Everlasting One.
You have shown power over death.  You have humiliated those
who believed they could destroy your Living Word.
You have enfeebled those who would rule by their own might and
empowered the simple people who trust in you, O God,
who creates and companions.
The anguished of heart are stilled and made whole again
by this good news, and the arrogant are reduced to eternal confusion.
You have come to the help of Israel, your faithful one, who
remembers you are the God who saves one from bondage, from faithlessness,
and from ultimate violence.  You are the Forever Living One,
the Shatterer of Death.

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