Editor's note: The following is the homily written by Msgr. James Mahoney in response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Friday. It was given at all Masses performed by Mahoney at Corpus Christi Church the weekend after the shooting.
Especially since 9-11, our parish community has come together in this place to connect with those who have died, to mourn with those who are grieving, and to draw closer to God when we truly need God most.
On Dec. 28, we observe the feast of the Holy Innocents – the children taken by
King Herod who was afraid of the birth of the Messiah. We celebrated it early
on Friday this week when, for reasons neither understood nor comprehensible,
innocents were taken – and those who taught them as well.
One of the great symbols of our faith, especially as we draw near to Christmas, is angels. What are angels? They are messengers of God’s love. Angels are the ones who point us to God, especially the nonabandoning love of God. Decades ago, a Mass for a child who had died was called the Mass of the Angels. Even today, we have the prayer in our funeral liturgy, “May the angels lead you into
Know this: God did not cause this any more than God caused Hurricane Sandy. I suspect that we may seldom look for God in the good times, but God is there. I believe that we need God and look for God most in the difficult and wrenching times - and God is closer to us then- and now - than at any other time. With our faith in Jesus, we believe in the God of nonabandoning love.
We must and do weep. We must and do pray for and with all those whose lives were uprooted. Now we remember – we must remember - how fragile life is and take stock of it every day. If we live letting life pass us by, then every day becomes loss. Parents, hug your kids even more – and kids, hug your parents, and give them some slack. It is right to do. It is worth it.
Spouses, relatives, friends, colleagues, neighbors: Give each other some slack as well. There are more important things than being right. Life on this side is too short. Someday, some moment, it will be over – and possibly without warning. Leave no good undone. For once, don’t forget what you resolve to do now.
Remember those kids on Friday – and the kids in our parish and families. All these are our angels, God’s angels. From the second they are part of God’s plan, every single one of them is precious in God’s eyes – and must be cherished in our eyes. Life is short – far too short – and it gets shorter every single day as we get older. It is so frustrating when we can all forget to change. Can some good come after this tragedy so that we can remember to remember?
To stay close to God;
To let people know you love them;
To tell your kids and family at least once a day you are absolutely crazy about
Remember – Do everything you can to make this world better and safer for angels – they have been given to us – placed in our world – now we must be unafraid to do the right thing to make our world safe for them and all those we love.
And so – for the kids and adults after this bad Friday,
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sunshine warm upon your face.
May the rains fall upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.
Mothers and fathers and grandparents and aunts and uncles and neighbors and
spouses and friends — hold your own angels, your own children's hands, the
hands of all those you love, for just a little while, and hold their hearts
God be good to them.