It's difficult to read the news when it is so heartbreaking. A quick look at the news feeds of Facebook and Twitter tells me many people, like myself, are still just trying to process news like the trial of George Zimmerman for the death of Trayvon Martin and the untimely death of Cory Monteith, the actor known for his role as "Finn" in the TV show Glee. These are just two stories in the midst of others that are difficult to read especially knowing how much pain and grieving their loved ones are experiencing.
I feel helpless and powerless in the face of these stories, and struggle sometimes to know what to feel or do. At mass on Sunday, our priest, reflecting on the day's gospel reading of the Good Samaritan, spoke humbly and yet with power about the need for us to open our hearts to those around us. He did not say, fold up then newspaper or close your browser window and go about your day. He spoke about allowing ourselves to be impacted by our neighbors. As I regard the news stories of this weekend, I can't help but hear his words echo in my mind and wonder how in God's name to take in the news of such tough stories.
As I've pondered this question, it seems appropriate that the words of today's psalm seem to turn our own rhetorical exasperation -- "how in God's name ...?" -- into a response:
"Our help is in the Name of God, who made heaven and earth." (Psalm 124:8)
Can we really find solace in a name? "The Name of God" and other names are of course more than mere labels. They signify the persons themselves. So when we say "in the Name of God" we mean in God's very self we will find help, solace, peace. I am also reminded of another quote from Saint Paul.
"And God said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)
I totally get these scripture verses, though it's hard to feel or fully comprehend the peace and help we desire when we are dealing with tough realities. But I have discovered that sometimes I don't always need to know how to make sense of it, but just to know that I can hang onto God's words knowing that God can take the lead and will help us with how to deal with tough times and how to know when it's time to stop and be present to our neighbor wherever and however she or he is.
Image: "The Good Samaritan" by Dinah Roe Kendall ... See VISION Vocation Network website for a reflection on The Good Samaritan story