I was able to get away a few weeks ago for a week’s vacation. I went to England, London mostly, for a week. I first visited that grand city twenty-five years ago this past summer on a French club trip, in between my sophomore and junior year in high school. I was way too young then to truly appreciate the city, but over the past ten years or so I have become a self-taught student of Tudor history and decided it was time to go back and see what I have read so much about. That Monday, while I was eating breakfast, news started coming in real-time about the horrific shooting in Las Vegas. Since then our nation has struggled to come to grips with another senseless tragedy which resulted in the loss of so many innocent lives and so many injuries. Debates have raged, and will continue to, about guns, and laws, and rights, and so on. In the aftermath of this great tragedy we may feel adrift in darkness, but that is not so.
At times like this, I always turn to the Word of God for there we can find answers, and if not answers, at least comfort in times of sorrow and distress. This time was no different. In the first chapter of the Gospel of St. John we are told that Jesus has come into the world to give us life and that His life is the light of the human race. And the truth of that light is this: “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5).” The shooting in Las Vegas is undoubtedly one of the darkest moments in our recent history, but the darkness is not absolute, because in the midst of it, the light of Christ shone brightly.
In the stories that have come out in the aftermath of this tragedy we are able to see how the light of Christ shone brightly in those moments. We have been blessed to hear stories of men and women who in those moments ran into the hail of gunfire to help others. How people used their own vehicles as ambulances to rush strangers to the hospital. How one husband sacrificed his own life to shield his wife from the shots. The stories go on and on. If you have not read or heard any of them, I encourage you to do so. These heroes did not debate the pro and cons of what they were about to do, they simply responded naturally to the need before them. The heroism that we have seen in the midst of this tragedy reminds us that human beings are still inherently good, because we have been made in the image and likeness of God. Sin gets in the way of that inherent goodness at times and we have to deal with the struggle of having a will and intellect that have been darkened by the initial fall from God’s grace, but, make no mistake, we are still ordered to good.
Sadly, we must accept the fact that in spite of our best efforts, evil will remain the world until it is forever destroyed when our Lord returns in glory on the last day. Until that day, we must do our part as sons and daughters of God, as heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven, to stand against evil in the world. How do we do this? Simply by being the people that God has made us to be; by striving to witness to his life and love each and every day in thought, word, and deed. There are moments when we are going to be tempted to give up hope, but if we look, God will always give us a reason to hold on to hope and many times those reasons will be found in ordinary people around us.
Let us continue to pray for those who suffer so unjustly from violence and from all sins against God’s love. May those who have died have their sins forgiven and find everlasting joy and peace in heaven. May those wounded in mind, body, or spirit, find comfort, healing, and consolation. May all of us remember the truth spoken to us by our Lord: “you are the light of the world (Matthew 5:4).” May our hearts be open to God’s grace each and every day so that the light of Christ may shine brightly in and through us. Darkness is nothing more than the absence of light. Go and be that light in a world plagued by shadows.
About the Author:
Father Christopher House is the Rector-Pastor of the Cathedral and serves in various leadership roles within the diocesan curia, specifically Chancellor and Vicar Judicial.