Like many, I have been at a loss for words to add some comfort and assurance in the wake of the massacre in Las Vegas last week. Sadly some of those who have spoken publicly have offered little comfort or even added to the hurt by resorting to partisan politics. For most of us the fear is visceral as we realize that no one in today's world is safe from violence. Whether it be an act of terror, an ICBM or a deranged killer, the consequences of war and violence reach even to the most sheltered regions of our ever-shrinking world. For the families and friends of victims in last week's shootings, the pain is unimaginable.
Last evening I was pondering over these and other horrific events in our recent past, when I noticed the full moon over my neighborhood as I was taking out the trash. This sight gave me a strange sense of calm. As one friend later said to me, the Psalms offer comfort as well, as Psalm 19 says, "When I consider the heavens which You have made…" Clearly the writer of this Psalm took some comfort in knowing that our Creator is far greater than even the worst evils we face in this transient and often difficult life here on earth.
I realize that an astronomy lesson offers pallid comfort for people who are grieving real and terrible loss. But perhaps in some small way it can enable us to be of some comfort to the grieving. And it does help us to realize there are many things in this world over which we have little or no control. This is especially true for we who are people of faith.
My wife reminded me that last night's full, or near full, moon indicated the Jewish holiday of Succoth. In the New Testament this holiday is referred to as the "Feast of Booths." The Gospel According to St. John says Jesus went to the Temple on this holiday, but traditionally people would spend this holiday sleeping and eating outdoors in tents, as this is the harvest time in Palestine. Perhaps on a few of these warmer autumn nights we can step outside and look at the skies, and perhaps we can take a moment to reflect on this vast universe and ponder the wonders which we believe are the result of a Supreme Intelligence. Finally, perhaps we can find some gratitude that we have been given our minds and our senses to behold this awesome universe.
Peace and Blessings to all of you,