Pastor’s Weekly Message 1-29-23

Dear Friend of Carmel Mission, 
At Sunday Masses we prayed for the victims and families involved in the mass shooting in Monterey Park, CA. I am sure that, like me, you were horrified when only two days later we learned of another act of senseless gun violence even closer to our home, just north of Carmel on our beautiful California coast in Half Moon Bay. I was equally shocked and horrified when a bit of research revealed that this marked the 39th mass shooting in our country in 2023, and that 69 people so far have died in these tragic encounters in just the first few weeks of this new year.
We come to our familiar Gospel reading of the Beatitudes with hearts heavy, but also perhaps numb, with the collective grief of these tragedies. “Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)  As we mourn the evils of the world, it can be a time to question the ways in which we can respond with healing action. Do we mourn in silence? Or do we speak up against the status quo, much like Jesus did?  We are called to be peacemakers, but that can seem like a daunting, even impossible, task in a world plagued by violence, warfare, racism, and hatred.
In his book, The Cost of Discipleship, well-known theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer offers an extensive exploration of the Beatitudes. He writes that  peacemakers abhor the violence that is so often used to solve problems. This point would be of special significance for Bonhoeffer, who was writing on the eve of World War II. The peacemakers maintain fellowship where others would find a reason to break off a relationship. They always see another option. A time of mourning can foster a sense of resilience and in God’s comfort we can find strength. I invite you to join me this week in channeling the resilience and strength that are God’s gifts and using them to take positive action, to speak up against hate and violence whenever and wherever we can.
I wish you and your loved ones blessings of good health and new hope. Please continue to pray, and act, for peace,

Fr. Paul

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