Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"On the Tragedy in Boston"

On the Tragedy in Boston
Joseph McHenry
Chairman- GW Catholics at the Newman Center Student Board
from Stoneham, MA
I read somewhere once that for the saints- the holy men and women of God- no sin, no act of evil can be scandalous because they have full knowledge of Christ's victory over the powers of evil. Yet, for those of us who are not yet at that perfect level of trust in the Lord, yesterday's explosions left us asking how such evil can take place in a supposedly redeemed world.
As I reflected last night, I was struck by how few places we have left where we can feel safe. Since 9/11, we have witnessed acts of terror on planes, at schools, and in theaters. But yesterday, innocent people were killed and maimed as they ran in the open streets of Boston. Where can we run to, when the very act of running is not safe anymore?

For many on GW's campus last night, the running led them back to God, to our Newman Center's chapel for 10PM Mass and the candlelit prayer vigil that followed on the steps. Our running to God does not bring us answers, because it is our own broken humanity that renders the harm and terror from which we seek refuge. We all have a capacity for evil; in small ways daily and sometimes in large ways like we witnessed yesterday. None of us are exempt from falling, and senseless destruction reminds us how necessary is God's redemption and salvation.

What were we able to offer to the 70 who came to us last night?

Nothing but Jesus Christ.

He provides His love, exemplified by His Cross, His body and blood, and the fellowship of the Church. Last night we were a place of comfort and consolation because He is comfort for the weary and consolation for the broken-hearted. As I stoop on the steps after "Amazing Grace" had been sung and people milled about in silence, simply seeking to be together in Christ's love and friendship, I could almost hear the soft whisper of the Paschal Lamb, saying:

"Be not afraid. The world will try you and leave you at the brink of despair, but take heart, for I have overcome the world."

That, my brothers and sisters, is the peace of Christ; the peace the world cannot offer. Run to it and He will welcome you home.

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