A lone wolf.
That’s what they’ve been calling the 64-year-old shooter in Las Vegas who, with a semi-automatic weapon, fired into an outdoor crowd gathered for a concert. At the time of this writing on Monday, 59 people were killed and over 500 are injured.
Lone wolf. It not only implies a predator acting alone, but someone who is disconnected, someone lacking the social ties that bind us into a community. I bet the shooter at the Florida night club could be described the same way. And the man who shot the group of people studying the Bible in the church in Charleston. And the kid who walked into the elementary school in Newtown with a semi-automatic rifle and shot to death 20 first graders in cold blood.
Lone. Wolf. Devoid of affect and empathy. But armed to the teeth. What will be done? I assume the usual. Pretty much nothing. I figure if 20 slain children did not weigh heavier in the hearts and votes of our legislators than the profit margins of gun manufacturers, then real governmental change will happen at a glacial pace if at all. I do not mean to sound hopeless. We are never without hope, but our expectations for the quick modifying of law are not realistic. Our hope must broaden and include the inspiration which comes from the creativity of God.
On that note, we must continue to pray, of course. Prayer is essential for change. It not only calms the soul, but often sparks the imagination which, in turn, provides the impetus to act. I think of a comment the bishop made last Thursday night when we were gathered in the church for the celebration of Confirmation. He was addressing the young people in our parish who were about to be confirmed. He pointed at the seven or eight men and women seated in the sanctuary who were serving as Eucharistic Ministers and Altar Servers. He noted how impressed he was with such great adult involvement and held them up as role models for the young people, role models of involvement and caring.
Role model. That’s about as opposite as you can get from “Lone Wolf.” The adults in our parish who are involved in some ministry are very much connected and bound to and for the good of the whole community. None of those who served the Confirmation Mass were related to the ones being confirmed. They were there because they were asked to be and because they cared. Maybe Role Models are part of the cure for Lone Wolves…
So, besides your prayers, if you want to turn your frustration over this latest tragedy into something more tangible, something which God might well use as part of the solution to this sort of senseless violence, then invest yourself, become a more active and visible part of our faith community. Readng through this bulletin alone, I count at least ten different ways!
Let me suggest one that stands out because it made such an impression on the bishop: serving as an adult Altar Server. You probably realize that the only Mass at which children serve is the 10am. Men and women serve at all the others. It’s not a big time commitment (you’re at Mass anyway), just a little time ahead for preparing things before Mass and a little time afterward to straighten up for the next. We are recruiting for the 8am and the 1130am Sunday Masses. There will be an evening of training for all who are interested (but, believe me, it’s not rocket science, even I can do it!) What is required is the interest to act, to do something, to be involved. Put yourself out there and let God do the rest. You never know who might be influenced by your decision to act. You never know how God will use your decision to act. And that restores my hope…