The recent spate of shootings in the US, happening now almost daily, have been so heart-breaking and senseless. Gilroy. El Paso. Dayton. Lives and communities are being devastated by the grief and senselessness of it all.
People are at a total loss on how to face this situation, even just where to start. There are the usual calls for gun control and stricter laws, the blaming of a divided and fractured communities for the anger and the hatred, the breakdown of morals in a consumerist and materialistic society. And then there are the faint voices of faith and hope.
The Ten Commandments, except for the third and the fourth, are all expressed negatively in a passive aggressive manner “Thou shall not…” Christ summarized the Law into two simple commandments and expressed these positively in an active caring manner: “Love God. Love you neighbor.” Religious practice during his times emphasized rites and rituals. Jesus emphasized relations and community. Such shift in emphasis and perspective was not simple semantics for it is what finally got him crucified. And when he proclaimed the Kingdom of God, he did so with the Beatitudes as the norms of conduct and behavior. “Blesses are the poor, the peacemaker, those who mourn or are persecuted, . . . . ”
As certain as evening augurs the end of day and dawn heralds the morning, so is the love and care of God for us. And yet very often, the gathering shadows of night make me miss the last rays of a glorious sunset or in the deep darkness of the night, I miss the beautiful silhouette of the pale moon or in the depths of depression I fail to catch the glimmering dawn of a new day. There is gloom and even a sense of doom over these spate of senseless shootings; yet flowers still bloom in wild abandon and life is renewed and becomes more beautiful for many. There will be acrimonious debates and recriminations over all the hatred and violence; yet families and friends will still gather together to share a meal to find joy and laughter in their togetherness. There will be intense sadness over some life-stories coming to such a tragic end just a new one are just starting to blossom. Throughout his history, man has been weak and feckless, yet there have also been many moments of greatness and heroism.
I pray for a stronger and unwavering faith: “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.”