(Parishioner John Koubek approached me about posting this column. Here is his introduction, which is a powerful invitation for us all in the Year of Mercy. Thank you John!)
How many times have we asked this question when we are confronted with so much tragedy and suffering in the world! God, why!
Maureen Dowd’s column entitled “Why, God?” appeared in the New York Times on December 25, 2012, and it was authored by a priest friend of hers. This was shortly after the tragedy in Newton, CT where 20 children and 7 adults were murdered.
How does one celebrate Christmas with the fresh memory of 20 children and 7 adults ruthlessly murdered in Newtown; with the searing image from Webster of firemen rushing to save lives ensnared in a burning house by a maniac who wrote that his favorite activity was “killing people”? How can we celebrate the love of a God become flesh when God doesn’t seem to do the loving thing? If we believe, as we do, that God is all-powerful and all-knowing, why doesn’t He use this knowledge and power for good in the face of the evils that touch our lives?
The killings on the cusp of Christmas in quiet, little East Coast towns stirred a 30-year-old memory from my first months as a priest in parish ministry in Boston. I was awakened during the night and called to Brigham and Women’s Hospital because a girl of 3 had died… (read the entire piece here)
Her friend and priest Father Kevin responds to the question of “God, why” as a meditation. The truest answer that Father Kevin gives is that he does not know.
Father Kevin does believe that God enters the world through us and that we can be a comfort and healing to those who are suffering and points out “How we are with one another in that suffering and dying makes all the difference as to whether God’s presence is felt or not and whether we are comforted or not.”
In this Jubilee Year designated by Pope Francis as a year of Mercy, Father Kevin quotes a contemporary theologian who describes Mercy as “entering into the chaos of another.” What a wonderful description of Mercy by being Jesus to those who are suffering!
– John Koubek