Early on Sunday Morning, June 12, 2016, a gunman opened fire with an AR-15 in a nightclub in Orlando. At least 50 people died, and another 50 or more were injured in another act of mass violence, using a weapon designed for war.
With this latest mass shooting comes the usual statements, tweets, and facebook posts from politicians and other public figures offering their "thoughts and prayers." Numerous social media memes show votive candles, various colored ribbons, and other symbols of support for the "victims and their families." Columbine, Washington Navy Yard, Sandy Hook, Aurora, Tuscon, Mother Emanuel, San Bernardino, Orlando...the list goes on and on. Beneath these headlines is the steady drumbeat of 80 gun deaths every day in America, and the endless litany of "thoughts and prayers."
Maybe, like the prophets of Baal, our prayers are not loud enough, our petitions not flamboyant enough, our tweets not perfectly worded, and our facebook posts not clever enough. Or maybe we have forgotten the command of Christ to "pray in secret to God who hears in secret." Maybe we are guilty of following the form of religion, while ignoring its power. Or maybe we are leaning on our own understanding, afraid that God's answer will show that what we know to be true is completely wrong.
I don't know any answers anymore. And I don't want to posit any ideas to attack the scourge of gun violence that threatens the very existence of freedom. All I know is that I'm afraid of the world that our two brand new grandchildren will grow up in.
Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison.