March 16, 2018

Editorial

With faith, let’s bring light into the midst of darkness

“And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God”
(Jn 3:19-21).

We are approaching the darkest day in the history of humanity.

Good Friday, which falls on March 30 this year, is the day Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus. For Catholics and various other Christian traditions, there is no darker day in our lives of faith.

But a few days later, we celebrate Easter, the chief feast in the liturgical calendars of all Christian churches. It commemorates Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, and is a time when the light of Christ again shines brightly.

If we reflect on the passage from the Gospel of John (Jn 3:19-21) cited above, we realize light and darkness continue to very much be a part of our world today.

We were saddened and heartbroken when we learned of a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last month which left 17 people—14 students and three adults—dead.

In a Feb. 28 open letter to President Donald J. Trump and members of Congress, Jesuit Father Michael Sheeran, president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, urged U.S. leaders to listen to the teens who survived the Parkland, Fla., school shooting and help them “fix this” plague of gun violence in our country.

“We adults have repeatedly failed to fix this singularly American phenomenon,” said the priest on behalf of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S.

The priest urged U.S. political leaders to listen to the teens from Parkland, and “not cruelly disparage them in this time of trauma, grief and anger.”

Closer to home, our hearts ached as we watched a funeral procession for a 34-year-old Indiana policeman, Boone County Deputy Jacob “Jake” Pickett, who was killed in the line of duty earlier this month. We pray for his wife, their two young children, and the Lebanon and Boone County communities as we try and digest how such evil can exist in our world—much less within our state’s borders.

What makes these tragedies even tougher to swallow is the fact that the alleged killers in both cases have shown little or no remorse for the crimes they committed.

Despite that, our faith teaches us that one way to overcome the darkness that has enveloped their lives is to offer our sincere, heartfelt prayers for them. There may be no harder lesson as parents and adults that we teach our children than praying for other children who have lost loved ones, and also encouraging our kids to offer prayers for those who have done evil things. Sadly, that may be the only light these individuals ever know.

Children’s sincere acts of kindness are already bringing light to these tragedies. We learned on March 9 that police officers paying their respects to Deputy Pickett received messages of support from school children.

According to media reports, several notes were left on every police car at Connection Pointe Christian Church in Brownsburg during Deputy Pickett’s funeral, thanking the officers for their service. Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine tweeted photos of the messages left on his car, including a drawing of a rainbow with the message, “Thank you for protecting us!” from one student.

Six-year-old Malachi Fronczak of Kokomo, Ind., also raised nearly $7,000 for Deputy Pickett’s family by selling lemonade and hot cocoa. But this wasn’t Malachi’s first fundraiser to help a fallen police officer. A year ago, he opened his lemonade stand to help the family of Southport Lt. Aaron Allan, who was also killed in the line of duty.

And we know students from around the country, including here in central and southern Indiana, have offered their prayers and heartfelt support for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students still mourning the loss of their classmates and teachers.

Scripture reveals there is darkness in the world. But it also teaches us—and what these children are demonstrating is—that we can shine a light to overcome the darkness.

—Mike Krokos

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