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Shots in the Dark

November 30, 2015

Brothers and sisters, we’ve had a week [and longer now – ed.] to digest this – let’s have a show of hands: is there anyone present who did not hear about the school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon last week?  Anyone?  ¿ Asesinatos universitarios ?  And how did it make you feel?  Ten persons dead, including the shooter.  My own son, a classmate and teammate of the boy murdered at Reynolds High School just one year earlier, sent me a text message that afternoon from Portland State University on just his second day of school, “I’m freaking out about the shooting.”  What do you say?  What words of solace will work over a text message?  His professor told him, “school shootings aren’t a serious problem and they aren’t a big deal.”  Is anyone a little dismayed and maybe disheartened by that?  Or the myriad of other acts of senseless violence?  And these nine Christian martyrs had their last exhalation swept away by the political hot air expelled on that day.  This is what happens when we put our faith in Man – especially ones aspiring for higher office.

The Prophet Malachi could no longer remain silent at the liturgical abuses of his time, and answered the question, “Where is the God of justice?” with, “The day of the Lord is coming.”  Indeed the Prophet hints of the one who will prepare the way – John the Baptist.  Today in his Last Oracle, Malachi tells us the answer: of those who fear the Lord and trust in his name, ‘I will have compassion on them, as a man has compassion on his son who serves him’.  Distinction between the just and the wicked.

In our responsorial we hear an answer: Blessed are they who hope in the Lord! Brothers and sisters, fear not the doom and gloom of the day, for blessed are they who hope in the Lord.  Not politicians.  Indeed. G.K. Chesterton said it wonderfully, “In the best Utopia, I must be prepared for the moral fall of any man in any position at any moment; especially for my fall from my position at this moment.” (Chesterton, Orthodoxy).  Judgement.

And it’s hard!  Dysfunctional government.  Homelessness on an unfathomable scale.  Unprecedented hostilities and disregard for the dignity of the human person.  Our lawmakers stand and stamp their feet about the terrible happenings in the world, the deaths of children, and college students, and Christians – and make no mistake, it is terrible – all the while turning a blind and ignorant eye on the deaths of millions of the pre-born here in the land of the free.

Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

The Lord himself tells us in his Gospel, be persistent!  “Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find; knock and the door will be opened.”  Yesterday he taught us how to pray, the Lord’s Prayer.  It is a good prayer it touches all the bases of good Christian petition!  (You can’t score if you don’t touch all the bases!)  Today Jesus emphatically teaches, you just got to ask!  You just got to seek.  You just got to knock.  You have to want the salvation he offers.

Today I ask you to reflect on our values as Christians.  During Election years, I answer people who persist at asking my political persuasion: I tell them I vote Catholic.  And that they should look into it.  For blessed are they who hope in the Lord.





October 8, 2015, Thursday, Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Malachi 3:13-20. The day is coming, blazing like an oven.

Responsorial: Ps 40:5 – Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Luke 11:5-13. Ask and you will receive.

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