November 13th was a great day for me. I went to a charity auction for my parish, met with old friends, made some new ones, ate, dance, sang, and was merry. Unfortunately at the same time it was one of the most terrible days for many other people around the world. It is hard to wrap your mind around how on your best days there are people having their worst days; how one couple can lose a child at the same time another couple welcomes one. This is the circle of life and this is the way it’s been since the beginning and the way it will be until the end when Christ comes again. However with so much violence, suffering, hatred, and natural disasters happening around the world it can be hard to find a balance for our feelings. We are called to be salt and light to the world, to live our lives with the joy of the Resurrection, but that can be a daunting task when faced with the many evils of the world. It is in times like these that I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Fred Rogers the star of the long running American children’s television series Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. He said “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.“
That is what I have tried to do this past week as one heart-wrenching news story breaks one right after another. For those not in the know here is a short list of just some of the major events that happened in the last few days. Paris, France was hit by devastating terrorist attacks that at last count has left 129 people dead and 352 injured. In Beirut, Lebanon a similar story with two suicide bombings leaving 41 dead and an unknown amount of people injured. Another suicide bombing and roadside blast in Baghdad, Iraq has killed 26 people and wounding many more. Two earthquakes of different magnitudes (4.3 and 6.7) shook Mexico and Japan. Dozens in China lost their lives due to a mudslide, and this just in, in Seoul, South Korea peaceful protesters are being fired at with tear gas and water canons filled with water mixed with capsaicin.
These are the stories that make your stomach churn with dismay and your heart-sick with grief when hear about them. The shocking videos and images that are pouring out after these calamities speak more to our hearts than any news anchor or article ever could. We see for our own eyes the chaos, the destruction, the fear, and the anguish. But I beg you all to take another look at some of these images, focus not only on the obvious sufferings, but look at the helpers. Every day people, doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, all of them there right in the thick of the adversity, surrounded by terror, mourning, chaos, and ruin, yet they take action, determined to do whatever good they can in such a terrible situation. Look not only at the evil that has been done, but rather look at the good that is emerging in the wake of it. Here are a few pictures from the recent tragedies mentioned above while they may be hard to look at try to focus on the helpers.
During situations like these people like to say, “Where was your God when such and such happened?” I like to point the helpers out and say, “There. My God is right there working in that person, and that one, and that one.” It is in these trials that we see God’s hands the most. He gives us the gifts of courage, compassion, unity, charity, hope, and faith. He draws us out of the darkness of our surroundings and makes us a shining beacon of His light and love. Thanks to God working in us other’s cruelty and hatred is overpowered by our love and kindness. Radical ideologies get trampled on by the virtues of people with true faith and the strength of the survivors exposes the weakness of their attackers. The people of the world who are often divided by cultures, languages, religions, and various other things unite together as one under such devastating tragedies because of God and the innate sense of humanity He has placed in each and every one of us. This my brothers and sisters is what we must always keep in mind when we feel evil is running rampant in our world. Our God promised us that there would be sufferings, famines, and war in our days, but He also promised us He would not leave us orphans. Let us recall His words in Isaiah 41:9-10…
“‘You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its remotest parts and said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you. ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’”
God is not silent nor absent during our darkest days, He is loud and clear in the voices and hearts of all those who oppose evil. This truly is a wicked age, but each one of us has been called to put on the full armor of God and to go forth boldly, proclaiming the gospel and changing the world by our light. So the next time a tragedy happens or you see some devastation on the news do not fear, do not despair for God is with us, until the end of the age and He will raise us all on the last day. Until then let us arm ourselves with God’s love, with virtue, and with prayer.Tags » despair, evil, good and evil, hope, suffering, terrorism, witnesses, worry