October 15, 2017


The violent shootings and murders that characterize our world today are indicative of a society that seems to have become accustomed to this type of trauma. The Las Vegas killings and injuries and the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando highlight this obsession. I’ve been to Las Vegas and to Orlando. They are cities that not only have become tourist destinations, but are home to many families who love those communities as much as we love Boston. We know what the Marathon bombings did to us.

We all go to festivities that attract thousands of people and can only imagine what can happen if only one person among those thousands decides to haphazardly destroy innocent lives and families. What motivates anyone to act this way is beyond comprehension. It could be hatred, prejudice, revenge, racism, mental illness, terrorism, or sadly enough, religious beliefs. In many cases, the killer takes his/her own life or is killed by police. So we never know the whole truth.

I get my news from the TV and radio. I watched the videos of the pandemonium and the screaming that took place on October 1st. Human beings scared and frightened not only for themselves, but desperately looking around for loved ones.

As crazy as this may sound, I have thought at times if I was ever in a fire and my mother was trapped and I realized she would not get out and she begged me to leave her, what would I do? It’s not out of the question that I would choose to die rather than leave. My point is: We are talking about family. We are talking about what love does to us and the heroic choice it affords us.

I hope you agree that we are all created in God’s image, but for a small minority of people either early childhood trauma, drug addiction, emotional instability, violent upbringing, or religious extremism brings them to a very dark place and can lead to unspeakable crimes.

Those of us fortunate to grow up in a more peaceful environment cannot begin to grasp what is going on in the world today. So many people fear for their children's’ and grandchildren's’ future. So much of what we worry about is second nature to them. Not that they accept it, but rather expect it. It’s not the world we want for our loved ones. So how do we teach our children and set an example for our teenagers? We decide how to raise them.

Even the Bible give us choices; “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” “Love your enemies and pray for your persecutors.” The more violence we experience, the harder it is to choose between the two.

  • What used to be called picking on someone is now the crime of bullying
  • What used to be called initiation is now called hazing
  • What used to be called off-color jokes is now a hate crime
  • What used to be called kidding around is now the crime of sexual harassment

As a society we are trying harder to make ourselves aware from the earliest years that our words and actions have repercussions and consequences. I’d like to believe it’s working.

I am not here to beg God to intervene, I am here to pray that we realize God has already intervened by giving us all we need to make this world and ourselves all we are created to be. It is no longer God’s responsibility - it is ours.

Enjoy Life
Fr Coyne


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