On Sunday evening, most of the major TV networks cut to a live feed of the speech given by President Obama at the Memorial Service for the victims of last Friday’s tragic shooting. In his remarks, nicely accented with Scripture, he stated that “surely we can do better than this,” referring to the need to take better care of our children. As his speech came to a close, he read the names of the children who had been killed. Slowly and deliberately, each name spoke of a future snuffed out by the senseless and aggressive act of violence which has left us all with saddened hearts.
As I sat after the speech, reflecting on what had been said, I couldn’t help but see a blatant contradiction between the President’s words and his actions. While he is not directly connected to the death of children, there is today, a push to attain abortifacient drugs and medications to end “unwanted” pregnancies. As I thought about the words of the President, I was moved to think about the countless innocent who are daily massacred. Nameless and forgotten, they are brought to a state of dismay as their lives are ended without ever having received even a blink from the same people who so eloquently call for our doing “better.” The reality is that as we gather more and more, four times in his presidency, to mourn tragic events such as last Friday’s or like in
, we gather with authentic and real grief.
In all of this, however, we must come to
terms with a radical truth that many of us have missed, as Pope John Paul II
warned some years ago, we have become a culture of death. As such, life is something that happens but
death is a norm that can be chosen, even if we still cringe at gross events
such as what we witnessed last Friday. In truth, we have become a society that
accepts death and promotes it through social and legal justifications, “I’m
just not ready to have this child.” Or “He deserves to die, he’s a monster!” More and more the message of life, the
message Christ Himself offered, is pushed aside and relegated to the quiet
comfort of our homes and churches, and even they aren’t as sacred as once
before. In our time, we have become a
people who have willfully chosen to turn away from God, choosing for ourselves
false idols that bring temporary comfort and pleasure, but which ultimately
lead to our own destruction, pockets of which, we see more unashamedly in
events such as those at Aurora, CO .
In his speech, President Obama said that
our “first task: caring for our children.
It's our first job. If we don't get that right, we don't get anything right.
That's how, as a society, we will be judged. And by that measure, can we truly
say, as a nation, that we're meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that
we're doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm?" Good question Mr. President, and looking at
your mandates and your record, the answer is No. May we become people of life, that together,
in the Life that is given to us by Christ, we may not only safeguard our
children, but also pass on to them a truly safe life in which death is no
longer part of our choices. Mr
President, lead us in working toward a world where Scripture isn’t just a
passing story, but a reality in which we all live! Lord Jesus, come. As always, God bless you,
and know that I love you. Fr. Ricky Newtown