Yesterday, October 27, 2018, our nation was shaken by the news a native terrorist had marched into The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA and opened fire, killing 11 of the congregants and injuring three police officers. The anti-Semitism displayed by this evil person shocked and saddened all of us who love our Jewish brothers and sisters as God’s chosen people and as our friends and neighbors. For no reason other than their faith, 11 people died. No doubt, they were good people, family members and contributing worshippers in their synagogue.
As we approach Veterans Day in our country and honor our oldest veterans who fought against Hitler and his anti-semitism seventy plus years ago, we are reminded again that when we see this kind of hatred and evil aimed at an ethic group, we must stand up and speak up against it. Too many Christians failed to do that in the 1930s and early 1940s. Had they done so, a bloody war might have been avoided. In the end, it cost the lives of many brave young men (and women) to end his hideous treatment of the Jewish people. Hatred hurts us all. As our president said, “This is a crime against humanity.”
What can we do? First, speak up anyway we can. We decry this behavior in the strongest possible terms. Next, pray for the victims and the congregation. Finally, respond in love to any Jewish person you know. Send a note to the Tree of Life Synagogue. Do anything you can think of to let them know we care.
In the words of one of our great saints, Francis of Assissi:
“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love, where there is injury pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Oh, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”