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Home » 3 Faiths Together

WHEN TRAGEDY STRIKES … AT PRAYER

31 January 2018 No Comment

WHEN TRAGEDY STRIKES … AT PRAYER
Father John Walsh

Too often it is only when tragedy strikes that people speak out and change occurs. I recall an incident when a teen-age girl, who had exhibited so much promise as a ballet dancer, was crossing over from one side of the train tracks to the other. Just then an unsuspected train going in the opposite direction to where she was looking, took her life. People had known for years that the crossing was a tragedy waiting to happen. It was too late to speak out. It took a life to have people sign petitions and finally the crossing was protected.
Who can forget the tragedy in the historic church in Charleston when a young white man killed nine black people when they were at bible study? The deaths created outrage but it was too late to save the lives of innocent people. Can we even utter the words “Never Again!”
More recently there is the tragic death of six innocent Muslims at prayer in a Quebec City Mosque. The tragedy sparked a public manifestation of solidarity with the Muslim Community. Too little too late. Islamaphobia was the silent killer. Muslims dress differently, speak a language little known to the population, and some people think their religious practice in the Mosques has little relevance. They are considered strangers who are not like the rest of us. Fear of the stranger slowly creeps into the psyche of certain segments of the society. Tragedies involving radical Muslims are reported daily from all over the world. Muslims are wrongfully stereotyped as radicals out to kill infidels. Barriers are erected that stifle any dialogue. Muslims are seen as separate from the majority who are not Muslims. Trust of one’s neighbour lessens with time. The righteous who were explaining the need for brotherhood and sisterhood are not heard often enough in the media. Tragedy strikes in our backyard. The goodness of people comes to the fore. It was there all along but it took the lives of six Muslims to unearth it.
How are we to interpret our sacred texts? The only way is to take what is central to our faith and apply it everywhere, no matter how difficult or how wearisome. We are to love God with our whole heart, mind and spirit and our neighbor, she or he is just like us.
She or he is just like us. There are no differences that are significant. It is time to stand up and speak out for the sake of humanity. We are “more” than we have the imagination to describe. It is that “more” that calls us together because we cannot do it on our own. There is “more” than we can draw on in our faiths traditions. Before it is too ale … NOW is the time.

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