Four thoughts that swam around my head this weekend, and links worth reading for each:
1. Murder is never part of God’s plan.
Sometimes, after horrifying days, it’s tempting for us as people of faith to search for some meaning in disaster. There is no meaning. The murders in Connecticut were not part of God’s plan. They were as senseless as they seem.
Read: “A Story Without a Moral, a Prayer for Newtown” by Sam Sawyer, SJ
2. God cries with us.
The shortest verse in Scripture comes when Jesus learns of his friend Lazaraus’ death: “And Jesus wept.” Our God does not send horror, but weeps with us in the midst of it. The word “compassion” literally means “to suffer with.” God suffers with us, and calls us to suffer with those in pain.
Read: “The mystery of pain, the solace of faith” by Rev. James Martin, SJ
3. We still lit the pink candle at Mass on Sunday.
Yesterday, the third Sunday of Advent, is known as Gaudete Sunday, or “Rejoice Sunday.” We lit the rose-colored candle. The Scripture readings were all about rejoicing—the Lord is near. We are able to rejoice even when we are heartbroken because joy is not the same as happiness. Joy is not an emotion, but a long-term way of living rooted in the belief that God’s love and peace ultimately overcome death.
Read: “Gaudete Sunday: How Can You Feel Joy After Newtown Shooting?” by Rev. Emily C. Heath
4. We must do better.
In the Book of Genesis, God gives humans the world and asks us to take care of it. We messed it up right from the start. As fallen people, we fail often. Friday revealed some of our biggest failures. We can and must do better. These efforts will involve looking at gun control as a pro-life issue. Making sure mental health services are better funded and better run. And working to build a culture of life across the board. Our world needs people of faith to be prophets of God’s justice and peace.
Read: “Gun Control is a Pro-Life Issue” by Rev. James Martin, SJ
Read: “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother” by Liza Long (note: includes some profane language)
Read: “Gun control, yes, but that’s only the beginning” by Melinda Henneberger
This article is also featured on the website The Ampersand for the Diocese of Camden Life & Justice Ministries.