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Kelsey Burgans |Youth Minister
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Ransom Us From Our Mourning- Come Lord, Jesus!
It’s been a rough couple of months for our city, as we have dealt with some high-profile murders. First, we mourned for three-year-old Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney, then for Aniah Blanchard, and now Megan Montgomery. If you’re like me, you may be asking, where is God in all these tragedies. However, we must remember that God is with us in these tough times. The question is, are we ready to welcome him, and what can we do to do so?
As Catholics, we have just begun the new liturgical year with the season of Advent. During this period, we are called to wait on the Lord Jesus- whether it is at his Second Coming or at his birth. Just like the Israelites of old, we seek justice, we seek victory, we seek salvation. Jesus Christ offers us all these things; however, it is not always in the way that we expect. With the death of these three young ladies, we expect justice for their heinous deaths, we know that God alone has the victory over all our defeats, and prayed that they may have been kept safe. Now, we can be assured that they will no longer have to face the evils that this world brought them in their lifetimes. Tod alone can heal the brokenness that is created by grief. We may seek for terrible things to happen to the ones who caused these senseless slayings; however, as Christians, we are still supposed to pray for the conversion of those at fault to Jesus Christ. This is hard. Perhaps we’re angry with God because of these tragedies. That’s OK- he can handle us at our worst. He knows that our pain doesn’t disappear overnight. However, God knows the grief that goes along with losing someone you love and in fact, loves the person who died more than you. God loves us where we are and in the midst of our grief.
It’s incredibly important for us to remember that Jesus, because he was fully human, experienced the emotions of anger, grief, denial, etc. Advent is a penitential season, after all. Upon hearing the death of St. John the Baptist, we find Jesus drawing alone for a private time of mourning. This is not the only time that we find Christ upset over the death of someone he loved. We recall in John 11 that Jesus wept over the death of his dear friend Lazarus. He cried, even though he knew he had the power to raise him from the dead (and did so). He is with us in the peaks of our lives but also in the valleys. Goes would never will suffering (or be apathetic to it), as it is against his nature. However, God allows the world to continue its fallen course. It is because of this reason that he have Jesus as our Redeemer. And because of Jesus, we can hope for eternal life with God.
Our Lord doesn’t promise that there won’t be storms in our life; however, the Almighty has the power to calm them- all we must do is be willing to open our hearts and ask him. Not only do we need to pray for the loved ones of these victims, but we must pray that the Lord Jesus will give us the courage to serve these families in whatever ways he calls us to. It was a blessing to see the bows and ribbons that were displayed across Birmingham during the searches and subsequent weeks after Cupcake McKinney and Aniah Blanchard. Let us pray that we may show comfort and solidarity with the loved ones of these young women, and let us pray together for an outpouring of hope, peace, joy, and love for these families, as we wait for the coming of our Lord to act in the best way possible.
While death was NEVER part of God’s plan to begin with, we know that he can save us during this time. During tragedies, it is almost never comforting to hear “God won’t give you more than you can handle”, or that someone is with him now. These statements can cause even more pain and confusion about who God and why he would “allow” something like this to happen. However, we can cry, “O come, Emmanuel! Ransom captive, Israel that mourns in lowly exile here until the Son of God appears!” Let us remember to pray for the repose of the souls of these three, as well as those who have needlessly lost their lives. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let the perpetual light shine upon them.
St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church abides by the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama Youth Protection Program. Through annual training, our students are reminded that they are made in God's image and carry dignity. To review the materials associated with our Safe Envioronment/Sexual Abuse Prevention, please click here. For more information about becoming a chaperone and earning Youth Protection certification, click here.