Focus On Self

August 15, 2019

In the wake of the shootings at Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas as a country we seem to be looking to national solutions. More stringent gun laws suggested better background checks on people purchasing guns, so-called flag laws that would allow the confiscation of guns from people thought to be dangerous, to banning automatic weapons all together. Two philosophical streams seem to separate people into two groups. One group has the notion that people are basically evil and need to have a strong government to control them or they will create havoc. The other group has the notion that people are basically good and that left to themselves will behave properly for the good of themselves and others.

It appears to me that most people are good and would not even contemplate the kind of evil that happened in Dayton and El Paso. Scripture tells us that we are God’s children, created in his image, and are basically loving, kind, and good. We want the best thing for ourselves, families, nation, and the world. We are flabbergasted by the senseless killings.

Let’s take a closer look. Christianity teaches that we all have evil tendencies. Why else would we need a redeemer? While we are children of the light, formed in the image of God, we also can do great evil. The evil that we would do is called sin. “When a man knows the right thing to do and does not do it, he sins. James 4:17” When ever we go to mass, we acknowledge our sinfulness and seek God’s forgiveness, are forgiven , and become better people. How easy it is for us to focus on the national trauma of mass shootings, and overlook the evil that is in us personally.

Rather than focus on blaming others and making new laws, perhaps it would be better for us to focus on our own sin, ask God and neighbor’s forgiveness, do penance and strive to become better people. Rather than finding the evil in others, perhaps we need to get on our knees as individuals and as a nation, “Bless me Father, for I have sinned!” As Michael Jackson once sang, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.” El Paso and Dayton are tragic. More tragic is that we overlook our own sinfulness.

“May the Lord bless and keep you. May he let his face shine upon you and give you his peace.”

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