By Ron Bertsch
Tragic news of fifty-nine dead, many others in critical condition, hundreds still wounded and millions of us scarred after the senseless mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1. The television news listed all the mass shootings in the last decades. A sense of panic, doom and anxiety seems to be spreading. Coworkers voiced concern about going outside. Can we go anywhere and take our families and not dread the worst case scenario?
After winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, Mother Teresa is quoted to have answered the question, what can we do to promote peace on earth, she said, “Go home and love your family.”
No one is perfect and now might be a good time to take a deep look at our own lives and reflect on ways we bring peace to the world? Do we really love our family members? Do we put their needs above our own? Do we strive to make time to help the people around us? Or conversely, do we look only to our next social gathering to drink and make merry? Do we justify lavish expenses to satisfy earthly pleasures? Do we get caught up with purchasing the next best, and latest technology, cars, or vacations? Where are our priorities and when or how do we respond to the peace and joy God wants for us? How do we respond to such evil and tragedies like the shooting in Las Vegas?
I can’t help but think of the foster and adoptive families that I have the great privilege to know. I can see Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s words lived out on a daily basis. There is so much wisdom in her little phrase and answer. For the most part, foster/adoptive parents selflessly give of themselves and make great sacrifices of their time and energy to pour out this love on complete strangers. I can’t help but think that in doing so; they unite with Christ in bringing change to the hurt and traumatized youth of society. Maybe we as members of the universal church can reach out to other outcasts of society, those lonely and hurt by selfish misguided people? Maybe we can step in and serve those incarcerated, victims of addiction and lost souls and bring them hope and the good news of the gospel? Maybe this is one way we stop the next person from feeling scared, alone or angry and whom stray so far from Christ that they commit a horrible act of violence upon themselves or others?
God the Father is the author of Life, the creator and his son Jesus Christ is the great Prince of Peace. Their Spirit is love between the Father and Son and is our helper, the Advocate. We bring peace on earth by first seeking the Holy Trinity in prayer. We find God in scripture and in the sacraments, especially His true presence in the Eucharist. By turning to God, we find peace for ourselves and then we are equipped to bring peace to one another, one soul at a time.