Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Marathon Mourning

Yesterday I received two text messages about the Boston Marathon bombings. Both messages came while I was praying in our chapel. I immediately turned to the Lord Jesus and asked him to be with all those people.
Having lived in Boston several years, I am very familiar with the area of the Marathon Finish Line. Various television networks supplied on-going coverage of the blasts and the human toll. I appreciate the networks' discretion in refraining from not showing every detail of the wounded and traumatized victims of the blasts. I regretted that the thousands of runners who train for months on end were denied their rewards. Their joy was turned to sorrow.
My heart was touched when I saw so many people rush to help others. Many were trained first responders, police and firemen, others were generous bystanders. Their selfless deeds counter-acted the wickedness of the bombings. As Pope Benedict once said, "Only God can bring good out of evil." God was working through the people kneeling on the pavement staunching blood flowing from the wounded; he was present in the ambulance personnel who worked endlessly to rush the victims to various hospitals; his spirit was present in the doctors, nurses and health care persons who worked tirelessly to save many lives. I was proud of our Bostonians and of all the good people who ran to the aid of the wounded.
Where is God in the midst of all this chaos? He works through his sons and daughters who are living out the command: "Love one another as I have loved you." During my Eucharistic Adoration this morning I finished reading and praying with the final chapter of "Jesus of Nazareth" the second volume by Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict). Benedict speaks of the resurrected Jesus' presence among us today. He did not go away and "leave us orphans" to face the maddening violence of terrorists and other evil minded persons. No, he is with us. May Pope Benedict's words console all of us and refresh our spirits:
After the multiplication of the loaves, the Lord makes the disciples get into the boat and go before him to Bethsaida on the opposite shore, while he himself dismisses the people. He then goes "up on the mountain" to pray. So the disciples are alone in the boat. There is a headwind and the lake is turbulent. They are threatened by the power of the waves and the storm. The Lord seems to be far away in prayer on his mountain. But because he is with the Father he sees them. And because he sees them, he comes to them across the water; he gets into the boat with them and makes it possible for them to reach their destination. 
 This is an image for the time of the Church--intended also for us. The Lord is "on the mountain" of the Father. Therefore he sees us. Therefore he can get into the boat of our life at any moment. Therefore we can always call on him; we can always be certain that he sees and hears us. In our own day, too, the boat of the Church travels against the headwinds of history through the turbulent ocean of time. Often it looks as if it is bound to sink. But the Lord is there, and he comes at the right moment. "I go away, and I will come to you"--that is the essence of Christian trust, the reason for our joy. (Jesus of Nazareth vol. II, pp. 284--285)
I pray for the physical, mental and emotional healing of all the victims of the Boston bombings. May the Risen Lord Jesus give strength to the care-givers and law enforcement personnel. May this incident never deter any of us from loving one another. I pray for our civil leaders that they may be clear headed, strong and determined. May the citizens and visitors to Boston be safe and sere as they rebuild their lives.


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