This week witnessed more disturbing events around the world. All of them are pitiful. The shootings in Gilroy in California that killed 6 including a child, the shootings also in Chippewa, Wisconsin that killed six, and other bizarre events.
A few years ago, there was a shooting in a church in France that ended in the murder of 84-year old Fr. Jacques Hamel in the suburb of Rouen in northern France. Fr. Hamel was celebrating morning Mass when his two attackers rushed on the altar in a most indescribable way and martyred him. The Church is the last unusual place anyone would expect an attack of this kind. But don't be deceived, the world in which we live in is capable of surprises. There are ready elements waiting to visit mayhem on their targets, and the Church is the least you would expect. This is truly unfortunate for the 21 st century.
Such bizarre actions to the most vulnerable and harmless within the confines of their comfort zones are the most despicable under the sun. Today's readings illustrate to us the vanity of life by reminding us that life has a finality. All the toils and labors of daily life have an end.
The routines of daily living and the pains of planning a better life have an end when the life we have returns to God in death. While this is true, nobody deserves the kind of horrible ends such as Fr. Hamel experienced or those innocent victims of recurrent attacks around the world. This singular event is representative of many unreported events in numerous parts of the world. Imagine the vastness of our world and the hidden cases of hateful religious zealotry against harmless victims every day without any opposition from any quarters. The horror is indescribable, and only the survivors can narrate their agonies in the hands of these elements.
Jesus gives us a relevant punchline to help our meditation. He says to the crowd as he repeats to us, "Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one's life does not consist of possessions." Living a life with God is the most rewarding of all the possessions of this world. Fighting for ownership over material items reminds us of our humanity and how selfish our intent can be. A disturbing trend in life is depending entirely on earthly possessions. This can lead to selfishness and violence. But the human soul is different. It is precious in the sight of God, and thus, preparing the soul to be at peace with God, gives religion credit.
Let us learn two lessons from the life of St. Paul. The first lesson is that he initially lived a life of hatred for the early Christians and did not want to have anything to do with them. Instead, he had them arrested and imprisoned to satisfy his innermost convictions and warped belief systems.
Eventually, he had an encounter with Jesus on the way to Damascus; he became a changed man. He realized that he had wasted his life in darkness in pursuit of wasteful ventures. He invested his new life to positive actions that built him and others around him. Next, we can also learn the zealousness of Paul in uniting men with their God through teaching. He did not see any distinction between the races, rather, he urged them to avoid immorality, immaturity, passion, evil desires, greed and idolatry to make heaven. The lessons of life are many, and only those who pay attention can understand from the events around us, no matter how far they seem.
The overriding lesson is that life has a finality and all the efforts of man will come to a conclusion. After all the toils of this life, every soul returns to God to render a stewardship for their actions. For those who are dying in avoidable circumstance, we pray for God's consolation on their loved ones. For agents of evil, we pray for their conversion as well as a change of heart while contemplating evil actions against the good of society. For Fr. Hamel, he died on duty in service to Church and humanity including all those who died recently in the shootings in this country and around the world. May God reward his efforts with the gift of eternal rest. Keep praying!BACK TO LIST