My dear friends in Christ,
Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus.
Kyrie eléison. Lord, have mercy.
Christe eléison. Christ, have mercy.
Kyrie eléison. Lord, have mercy.
This is not the column I intended to write for our newsletter today. Then, yesterday, Uvalde happened.
What more can we say? There are no words to name the depths of violence, tragedy, and loss that, once again, darken our world. That, perhaps, have come to define our world. It is difficult not to yield to such a conclusion.
Once again. That little phrase multiplies the horror of yesterday’s attack.
For we now live in a society ~ and have for some long years now ~ in which, if I were to refer to “the mass shooting at that school,” you would have to ask me to clarify exactly which mass school shooting I was talking about.
We have been accustomed for far too long to having to say “In the most recent school shooting…”
After the unspeakable horror of the Sandy Hook massacre, things were supposed to change.
Nothing has changed.
So what more can we say?
And yet … we cannot remain silent. No faithful follower of Jesus Christ can remain silent, inert, passive, in the face of such evil. But what, then, do we say? What, then, do we do?
Last night, I saw a post on social media in which the commenter was demanding to know “CLERGY WHERE ARE YOU?” [all-caps in the original] and informing all priests and ministry leaders that “WE’RE ALL HURTING,” so “SPEAK TO US AND GIVE US COMFORT!”
Of course, I cannot speak for all clergy and all ministers, but I can tell you where this priest is: I’m hurting, too. I’m terrified, also ~ for my own children, and for yours and everyone else’s. And I’m angry. I am angry beyond the capacity of the English language to communicate.
Nineteen more children slain in Uvalde. Two more teachers killed. The worst school shooting since Sandy Hook. Sandy Hook was supposed to be the turning point. It was supposed to be the moment when things changed. When we decided to change things, so that these atrocities stop happening every other week. (We’ve had, what, upwards of 30 mass shootings thus far this year, alone?)
So, yes, I’m angry. I’m angry that so many other things seem to be so much more important to so many other people in this society than making sure that the scariest thing our children have to face at school is a pop test. I’m angry that so many people seem to be so willing to throw hands up in the air and say, “Well, what’re ya gonna do? It is what it is. It’s not like it’s ever gonna change.”
Well, why not?
People used to say the same thing about slavery in this country, about Apartheid in South Africa, about the Berlin Wall and the Communist Bloc in Eastern Europe, etc., etc. But slavery ended, Apartheid was abolished and destroyed, the Berlin Wall came down.
The question isn’t whether or not we can do anything to change this evil. The question isn’t whether we should ~ we are absolutely obligated and commanded so by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as expressed in our Baptismal Covenant.
The question, again, is not whether we can do anything. The question is: what are we going to do?
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