It was to be a nice, friendly introduction. I wanted to tell you a little of myself, ease into this new role as content editor for this site. But then … Sutherland Springs, Texas.
You no doubt have already heard the news by now. Twenty-six souls were killed while attending a worship service in a Baptist church in a small community outside of San Antonio, Texas. The shooter himself dead. That is twenty-seven people who died yesterday in a way that defies explanation.
Explanations will not bring back to life the grandchildren, parents and grandparents killed in this senseless act of violence. Yet we seek explanation if only to keep our world from tilting completely off-axis; we need explanation to try to make sense of the senseless so we do not give in to despair.
Yet today, that explanation evades us. Unless.
Unless we put aside our need for an easy explanation. If we only seek political answers, we will not see what the real problem is in our land today.
“We need prayers! The families affected in the shooting this morning at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs need prayers. The evil perpetrated on these who were gathered to worship God on the Lord’s Day – especially children and the elderly – makes no sense and will never be fully understood,” Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio said following news of the mass shooting.
“Disbelief and shock are the overwhelming feelings; there are no adequate words. There can be no explanation or motive for such a scene of horror at a small country church for families gathered to praise Jesus Christ.”
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, bishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, added,
“We must come to the firm determination that there is a fundamental problem in our society. A Culture of Life cannot tolerate, and must prevent, senseless gun violence in all its forms. May the Lord, who Himself is Peace, send us His Spirit of charity and nonviolence to nurture His peace among us all.”
A fundamental problem exists in our society—of that, I believe we can all agree. Just what is that fundamental problem? And once we identify the problem, how can we participate in its solution?
As to the problem at the root of our problems, we have to go back to the beginning, back to the Garden where we, through our first ancestors, disobeyed God and ate from the tree that opened our eyes to good and evil. We had the chance to eat of life, yet chose to have our eyes opened to a path of our own destiny, a destiny that ends in death. That scene in the Garden plays out everyday in our society as choices that lead to death—our own, and that of others.
What can we do to get back to the Garden, to have another chance at the Tree of Life that we shunned? How do we foster a “Culture of Life,” as Cardinal DiNardo said? It is not in our power to accomplish such a task. And this God well knows. That is why God Himself entered our world and, by His life of love and His perfect, once-for-all sacrifice, once again opened the door to the Garden and the Tree of Life for all to freely enter and partake.
What is the “fundamental problem” in our society today? It is that we choose to ignore the call of the living, loving God who created us and calls us to live in harmony with Him, and instead choose to make our own way, a way destined for destruction. It is, to put it simply, that We do not know Jesus. Not know about Him. Know Him as he knows Himself to be.
So how do we solve this problem? How do we change our world to prevent future tragedies like we experienced yesterday? That is what we will discuss and practice on these pages in the days to come. But it starts with the words of Archbishop Garcia-Siller.
“We need prayers!”
To be continued.