Fr. Joseph K. Horn
St Barbara’s Parish
Santa Ana, CA
The death of a child is surely one of the most tragic traumas we ever have to bear. After the bombing in Oklahoma City, those with a weak faith may have been tempted to doubt God’s goodness. Why would He want little children to die? The answer, of course, is that he doesn’t. That tragedy was not God’s will; it was the will of evil men, men who will pay for their outrageously atrocious deed. What they did was evil, sinister, diabolical. We cannot call such malevolence God’s will.
In a similar way, those of little faith may ask why God allowed two teenagers named Christopher and Heidi to commit suicide together by jumping off a cliff last week. But this evil and stupid action was not God’s decision. God gave those young people a world full of opportunities and a future full of possibilities, and they chose to ignore it.
If you remember only one thing from this sermon, please remember this: when Jesus wept in the garden of Gethsemane, he wept not only because he saw his approaching cross, but because he saw our sins that would nail him to it. He saw the evil that men do, and he sweat blood in grief. He looked down through history, and saw the Oklahoma tragedy, and saw the children die, and Jesus cried out in pain. Young Christopher and Heidi thought that they were alone in their suicidal anguish, but they were wrong; Jesus in the garden watched them leap to their deaths, and he wept.
When Jesus heard that Lazarus had already died, he did not make a speech or preach a sermon or say that it was God’s will. No, Jesus wept.
Next time you feel painfully alone in your own private misery, remember that you are not alone. You are never alone!
Harry Lauder, the famous Scottish comedian, lost his son in World War I. When he heard the tragic news, he said:“In a time like this, there are three courses open to a man. First, he may give way to despair, sour upon the world, and become a grouch. Second, he may endeavor to drown his sorrow in drink or by a life of waywardness or wickedness. Or, third, he may turn to God.”