August 18th | Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time

“Do something!” That was the cry of the crowd gathered made to the governor of Ohio who had come to the site of the mass shooting in Dayton the day after the tragic event that took the lives of 10 people and injured 27. Just hours before, another mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas killed 23 and wounding 24. A week or so before that, 3 lives were lost and 13 injured, during a mass shooting at a festival in Gilroy, California. The number of shootings and deaths weekly in Chicago is a sad statistic. Every time I hear of these senseless tragic events that have become so common in our world today, I cry out “stop the madness!” I pray for the victims, their families, and the person(s) who commit such evil crimes. And I want God to “do something” to end this craziness.

The “do something” for some is to legislate stricter gun laws and background checks – which may help. But I think there is something much deeper here that needs our attention – and that is the changing of human hearts, which cannot be legislated. Instead, God is asking us to “do something!” And that doing something involves examining our commitment to the dignity of EVERY human life, and doing all we can to end discrimination and racism in our-selves and society. Some of these mass shootings appear to be racially motivated. While most of us probably do not think of ourselves as being a racist, if we are honest, to some degree we probably are. A little joke here, stereotyping there, not speaking out when we see discrimination – all is subtle racism. Instead of blaming our president, who I do believe needs to be called out on some of his divisive and unacceptable rhetoric, as well as politicians on both sides of the aisle, I think we have to start by looking first at ourselves. Racism is nothing new. Jesus tried to eradicate it in his time, by teaching that God loves ALL people. Many of this stories reached out beyond ethnic boundaries to point that out. And isn’t it amazing that with all the technological advances since the time of Jesus, much still hasn’t been done to change the human heart!

I have included in today’s bulletin a copy of an article “A Catholic Response to Racism.” As Catholics, we need to promote the dignity and worth of every single person. ALL LIVES MATTER – and until hearts believe this, racism will still flourish. But, with God’s grace and help, we CAN turn violent hearts to hearts of love, mercy and compassion! Let’s start with our own first!!

Have a Blessed Week!

Fr Don