This week's reflection is written by
Rev. Matthew J. Hillyard, OSFS

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Our nation hurts and mourns yet again after two more senseless acts of violence, killing twenty-nine and wounding many others. The emotional wounds of those who love the killed and wounded are beyond words. Once again, there are calls for thoughts and prayers for the victims and their families. The killings are acts of hate and insanity. How else can one describe pointless, deliberate shedding of blood and taking innocent lives? Insanity also describes the aftermath after so many similar acts that prayers and thoughts are called for by our elected leaders but no attempt to find solutions to a national tragedy and crisis. When will we be able to say enough already and work together to look for concrete actions and changes? Many feel so helpless, but we can make sure our officials hear our voices that enough is enough. Let us ask them to please begin a national conversation to look for ways to curb the violence and avenues of prevention.

The shedding of blood also has a religious component. The people of Israel were sprinkled with animal blood by Moses as a sign of their commitment to the covenant with God. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures and into the Christian Scriptures (the Presentation of Jesus), animals were sacrificed and their blood used as an offering to God. It was a way of asking God’s favor on the people and also an offering to appease God, hoping that God would not be angry with the chosen people.

Interestingly, it is the blood of Christ on the cross that shows that God is not a God of violence. God does not desire bloody sacrifices. God desires that the blood that pulsates through our hearts flow richly through us with mercy, compassion, generosity, gratitude and a commitment to a more peaceful and just world. As we morn the loss in Texas and Ohio, I pray that we also make a commitment to eliminating any bias, prejudice or violence from our hearts. Furthermore, my prayer is that we make our voices heard to ask our leaders to work for ways to end the insanity.