March 4, 2011

Letters to the Editor

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Tragic death of Officer David Moore tests our vocation as Christians, reader says

I was moved by the Feb. 11 story in The Criterion regarding the death of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer David Moore.

As a 1999 graduate of Roncalli High School in Indianapolis, I am particularly saddened by the death of Officer Moore.

Although I only knew David from a distance, I, too, mourn the loss of such a committed Christian and officer.

His death is a loss to our faith community. His life inspires me to continue living out fully my Jesuit vocation to serve the Lord and others—to be, as we Jesuits often say, “A Man for Others.”

A few days after reading the testimonials of a Christ-imitated life, I watched as Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced that he is seeking the death penalty for Thomas Hardy, the man who allegedly shot Officer Moore.

That same weekend, as I joined our faith community in the Eucharist, I was not prepared for the prophetic words uttered by Jesus in that morning’s Gospel reading: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on [your] right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. … You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father. …” (Mt 5: 38-39, 43, 44-45).

Over the past few days, I have wrestled with these words and the prayer that Officer Moore delivered during his senior football banquet at Roncalli.

He called us to remember not the victories, but the prayers shared by a community, and to “think of the weight of the cross that makes us great.” For our community, this is certainly a great weight.

It seems that the Lord, while removing a good Christian from his vocation, is testing us in ours—our vocation as Christians.

It is in such times of trial that we must turn toward our God. We must turn toward prayer, and demonstrate our capacity to support Officer Moore’s family as well as love our “enemies.”

As such, I ask that the voices that speak from and for our faith community, Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein and The Criterion, lead us in our Christian vocation to bear the weight of this great cross, to help us grow as a community in prayer, and seek unity through forgiveness.

I ask that we offer Mr. Hardy an opportunity for redemption. I am prayerfully and dutifully asking, as part of my vocation as a Jesuit novice, a Catholic and a native son of the Indianapolis community, that we as Christians publically denounce this call for the death penalty. We must remain united, not by seeking “justice,” but in our faith.

Finally, I am asking that we fulfill our vocation in the likeness of Christ and the spirit of Officer Moore to love our enemies by praying for and defending the life of those who persecute us, condemn us, and even those who have murdered one of our own.

Hopefully, through the invocation of the Holy Spirit and the strength of the Indianapolis community, I believe this can and will be achieved.

(Jeffrey Sullivan is a Jesuit novice and member of Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Beech Grove.)

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