Let’s stop asking ‘why?’
Asking why isn’t good enough anymore; maybe, it never has been a good question. We ask God why God did not prevent the massacre of seventeen people, mostly children but all innocent, from occurring. We call this “theodicy.” That is, the theology addressing evil occurring in a world in which a benevolent, good, and loving God exists. We ruminate at an existential and cosmic level, which appears to be easier than on an Incarnational level- a human one.
As I was perusing the internet on articles to a Catholic response to Parkland, FL, Texas, Las Vegas, and reaching as far back as Sandy Hook Elementary, I came across this response to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) to the Parkland, FL tragedy.
Sheila Rosenthal says (February 15, 2018 at 5:37 pm): This is the lamest response, like so many weak and trite responses. Our people are being slaughtered en made [sic]. Our children are unsafe outside the home. We have had mass shootings in churches, concerts, schools and businesses in the last year. And not by foreigners, but by white, American men. Catholic bishops need to get in touch with America and get out in front and LEAD us. Prayers won’t move Congress, but people rising up together, united, will. We need the church to help us stop this madness, not pacify us as our families are gunned down.
I deem this outcry not to be an “emotional and raw” (as often as those words are used as pejoratives). It is a prayer, like Jeremiah’s lament; Job’s complaint; the Israelites’ “murmuring” in the desert; and Jesus’ closest friends and disciples of yesterday and today. Lent is a desert experience in which we encounter those obstacles and scandals that limit and paralyze us from reaching and experiencing a freedom and liberation in Christ Jesus. And that is the key- freedom and liberation.
It is not a freedom and liberation FROM God BY God exclusively. It is that in being freed by Jesus the Christ’s Paschal Mystery (life, passion, death, and resurrection) that we are freed from sin’s bondage and liberated from the illusions that sin hoists upon us: desolation, despair, and trepidation, to name a few. It is the liberation from sin so that the human person is brought to a salvation (wholeness) in which she/he strives for a “freedom for/towards excellence,” being aware of the call and gift of being authentically and fully human.
Our nation now appears to be encountering a Lenten “desert and wilderness” time in its journey. Pray, transfiguration, awareness, profession of Faith, and even worship now come to their goal- living a life with a conviction of “freedom for/towards excellence.” Discipleship is meant to lead to apostleship. We learn not only by prayer but by praying- the empowering grace of God. Prayer that ignites a living and vivifying faith. Politics, issues, rallies, and protests have their prominent places in our nation and as venues for human persons. And also, we must first go up to the mountain, not to escape but to be “strengthened by Jesus’ glory as God.” And yes, like Jesus, we must descend that mountain, not only to enlighten the world, but to be Jesus’ light to guide and lead our communities and world. And by our living may we evangelize that God’s Kingdom is at hand in the world, not only tucked away and resting on a mountain top.
Grace and Peace, Fr. Russell
Also, do not miss our 2018 Parish Mission: The Desert
The spiritual growth of our parishioners is our priority at SES. Join us for this Lenten journey and explore the life and consciousness of Christ. Contemplate the life of Jesus prior to, during and after the 40 days in the desert.
Held by Preacher Fr. Luis H. Pacheco
March 5, 6 & 7 at 9:00 am & 7:00 pm (1hr each)