It certainly has not escaped my notice that the Gospel reading for last Sunday, May 15, centered around these words, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).
That same afternoon shots rang out at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Hills leaving one man dead and 5 injured. The gentleman who died was a well-known and much beloved physician (Dr. John Cheng) and a personal friend and family doctor to a number for our parishioners. His courage and self-sacrificing action saved the lives of many; he is survived by his wife and two teenage children. We pray for the repose of his soul, for comfort and consolation for his family, and for healing for the Taiwanese Presbyterian community who worship at Geneva Presbyterian Church.
This weekend the Gospel ends with these words of Jesus: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:28).
How can our hearts not be troubled or afraid with the senseless shooting here and in Buffalo just a day before? Hatred and anger and vengeance and racism have fueled so much pain recently; is God listening to us as we cry out? In the words of the title of a book by Richard Leonard, SJ, we ask Where the hell is God? As men and women of faith, we need to sit with that question and wrestle with God seeking to hear his response “I am with you always.” Faith in God does not shield us from the questions; faith in God does give us the comfort and consolation we seek while we work together for changes that are necessary in our hearts, our homes, our community, our world.
As we struggle together with the pain, suffering, doubts, questions, and worries, we must also be practical and alert for the safety of those around us. That is why we have put back into the church the “Emergency Evacuation Plan” information sheets; I ask that you carefully review them (front and back) and in this way, we care for one another.
The Responsorial Psalm today calls out “May God have pity on us and bless us; may he let his face shine upon us.” It is in the Lord we find our peace and in loving each other we find our hope. God bless us all.
Monsignor John Urell