The recent tragedy in Colorado brings into sharp focus how “lost” our society can appear to be at times. A man enters a theater and opens fire on a crowd of innocent people. He then calmly surrenders to law enforcement, after which he informs them that his apartment is “booby trapped” with explosive devices.
As the smoke clears the media enters and begins bringing news and speculation into our homes. They ask the questions and sometimes provide answers (whether they are accurate or not). “How many died?” “How many wounded?” “How quickly did law enforcement respond?” Sometimes the media tries to find some nugget of “good” in all the “bad” to talk about in order to ease some of the pain and anger. Yesterday I heard one news source talking about police officers who were “throwing the wounded into their own patrol cars” and “rushing off to the hospital” because not enough ambulances could get to the site in time. However, the biggest question when these things happen is always “why”. Why did this man do what he did? Surely there must be some reason? Nobody would do this for no reason, would they? As time goes by and no reason presents itself, people, groups and organizations begin to lay blame. I’m sure in the coming weeks people will find ways to blame everyone from gun makers to homosexuals for this tragedy. My natural instinct for the next few weeks is to do that which one should do when under fire; lay low until the shooting stops. But after all the blaming and finger pointing, the reality is that there still may not be an answer as to “why” this happened other than the one we already have; we live in a world in which human kind has fallen (original sin) and in which we all have free will.
I’ve heard this word a lot in the news regarding this event. It is a tragedy. It is a tragedy that someone would choose to inflict the harm that they did. It is a tragedy that nobody in the theater tried to stop him. It is a tragedy that that this person (and many others) place such a low value on human life. It is a tragedy that many will lose their faith because they can’t answer the questions “why did this happen”.
In the gospel reading, Jesus’ “heart was moved with pity” for the crowds because they were like “sheep without a shepherd”. I feel the same way when I listen to the news and conversations around me about this tragedy. Everyone is looking for answers but nobody seems to be able to provide any. For us Christians, we will just have to be content with the knowledge that God uses all things for a greater good, even though we may not see or understand what that may be.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark (6:30-34)
The apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
About The Tattooed Catholic…
Jean Pierre “Pete” Espil is a Catholic Youth minister who has worked with teenagers and youth for the last 16 years. He has spent the last 9 years in full time ministry but prior to that he worked with teens in shelter homes, treatment centers and detention centers. He grew up in the state of Idaho (USA) and currently lives in Salt Lake City Utah (USA) where he works as the Campus Minister at Judge Memorial Catholic High School. He also travels to speak to Catholic youth in different states and countries when time allows.
His approach to youth ministry and the practice of his Faith falls somewhere between St. Benedict and Dog the Bounty Hunter. Unorthodox in style and appearance, Pete loves to break down stereotypes about what a “Christian” should look and act like. He has a BA degree in Linguistics from Boise State University (Boise, ID) and is an Oblate in the Benedictine tradition.
When he isn’t working with teens you can find him practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, playing his drums, or spending time with is wife, Catholic Recording artist Jaime Thietten.
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