Last Sunday evening, our nation once again experienced a phenomena whose impact continues to bear tragic results, As of my writing this column, 59 lives were lost and over 500 were wounded through a mass shooting in Las Vegas. Our nation and our world are perplexed, saddened and deeply fearful of these acts of terror. How is it that fellow human beings can come to the distorted conclusion that there is justification in taking the lives of others? How are we to respond to these unconscionable attacks on human life?
In his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul encourages us to keep doing what we have learned and received. St. Paul preached Jesus Christ; who redeemed the world by remaining faithful to the mission, despite the overshadowing power of death. Upon the birth of Jesus, Herod slaughters the innocent children and his son executes Jesus' cousin John. Throughout his public ministry, Jesus' opponents continued to plot against him. Furthermore, his apostles, betray, deny and abandon him, yet he persists in the mission. Hanging on the cross, Jesus looks to the convicted criminal at his side, respects his broken life and promises him a place in the kingdom. So we too, despite the pressures of the world, must continue to persevere against what Pope Saint John Paul II called a "culture of death," in all its forms.
"...it is possible to speak in a certain sense of a war of the powerful against the weak: a life which would require greater acceptance, love and care is considered useless, or held to be an intolerable burden, and is therefore rejected in one way or another. A person who, because of illness, handicap or, more simply, just by existing, compromises the well-being or life-style of those who are more favoured tends to be looked upon as an enemy to be resisted or eliminated. In this way a kind of "conspiracy against life" is unleashed. This conspiracy involves not only individuals in their personal, family or group relationships, but goes far beyond, to the point of damaging and distorting, at the international level, relations between peoples and States." Evangelium Vitae 12
|A woman lights candle|
at a makeshift vigil on the Las Vegas Strip.
(CNS photo/Chris Waittie, Reuters
In the days following the tragedy in Las Vegas, the investigation revealed the planning and preparation which the assailant took prior to his attack. Evil does not randomly come about, it is planned and calculated. Transformative acts of good that cultivate life need a plan as well. In the midst of this tragedy, there is evidence of God's plan persevering. The Roman Catholic cathedral for the Diocese of Las Vegas is named for the Guardian Angels, whose feast day preceded the day of the attack. The horror unfolded on Respect Life Sunday. God's plan is rooted in the Gospel of Life and the saving mission of Jesus Christ. It is a plan that does not built upon anger cultivated by public figures but upheld by guardian angels. It is a plan which instructs us to, "Love one another as I have loved you."
|Image courtesy Holy Trinity Diocesan High School|