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Only God Knows

Another tragic shooting has happened in our country.  Yesterday (Friday, December 14, 2012) a man went into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut.  Twenty children are dead along with six adults at the school (including the principal who working to help the children), the alleged shooter, and his mother.  Any murder is a tragedy but especially with children and some many of them.

The details are still coming forth.  No motive has been determined yet.  Some speculate if the shooter suffered from mental illness.  There was confusion at first over who the shooter was.  All of that is for the police to determine.

The question I write to talk about is why this happened.  Why does any tragedy happen?  The honest answer is I don’t know!  I wish I did but only God knows.

Even if and when we have answers to our questions, it doesn’t change what has happened.  Answers may help prevent further shootings.  For right now, we need to focus on the here and now.  We must pray for the families who have lost children and adults.  We must pray for the school.  We must pray for the emergency workers (police, rescue, et al).  We must pray for all the people in the town because they are all affected by this.

I already said only God knows why this happened but God did not cause this to happen.  In recent years, I have heard people say that disasters like the earthquake in Haiti a couple of years ago was God punishing the people for their sins.  I do not believe God causes such things to happen.  God does allow such things to happen (only God knows why) but God does not cause them to happen.  Sometimes bad things happen because we make bad choices and God allows us to face the consequences.  Sometimes we have no idea why bad things happen.  In this case at Sandy Hook Elementary, tragedy happened because one man-made bad choices.  We don’t know why but that is the way it is.

I wish I had great words of wisdom to offer but I can’t explain this.  all I can say is:

God did not cause this shooting to happen but God was present.  I firmly believe God was right there with the children and adults who were shot.  God was present in the emergency workers.  God was present at the prayer vigils that happened last night.  God was and is present in every single tear that is shed over this.

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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