Holy Spirit Province Saint-Esprit
Franciscans of Canada - Franciscains du Canada
Ordo Fratrum Minorum
Today at Mass we prayed “For those among us who struggle with fears, regrets and doubts.” My mind turned instantly to my home province of Saskatchewan and the community of Humboldt. The community of Humboldt and many other communities and families are dealing with the tragedy of the SJHL Hockey team bus accident (on Friday April 6) which killed 15 people, many of them young hockey players.
There are many families today, tomorrow and in the days and weeks ahead that will be dealing with fears, regrets and doubts, not to mention deep sorrow, anguish and pain. Fear of what will be now, regrets for words not said and moments not cherished, doubts that this actually happened and how to go on and then of course the sorrow that comes with the death of a loved one.
For those of us not directly impacted by this tragedy we are left feeling helpless, maybe even a sense of numbness as we do not know what to do and we try to make sense of this tragedy. My thoughts have been distracted all day; I thought about families in shock, teammates left broken, classmates hurting, moms and dads in tears, grandparents devastated, and neighbours, billet families and community members trying to reach out. What do we do? What do we say? How do we show support? How do we be community? These questions themselves show that we really are “one community” as was shared in several press conferences. What does community do? I think we do the same as what family does, we rally around each other. We become backbones, strong arms, comforting embraces, shoulders to cry on, listening ears, we truly form “one community,” the body of Christ. Together we support one another and this “one community” is strengthened and slowly heals.
In this Season of Easter where we celebrate life we are reminded that in order to embrace life our savior had to endure pain, suffering and his death on the cross. At moments like this that may not provide all the comfort that we need, but in the Paschal Mystery there is strength and peace. And it is here that life intersects with Christ and Christ with life. After his death and resurrection he appeared to his followers and said, “Peace be with you.” He left them the gift of peace as a promise that he would be with them always and that he would remain with us “until the end of the ages.” It is in this gift of peace that we are strengthened as one community; that we are able to support one another in times of tragedy; that we are able to rise above our pain, to look beyond the cross and know that God’s steadfast love endures forever. In moments of great joy and, yes, in moments of great pain and suffering, maybe even more so in these moments God’s love endures for our God knows we carrying a cross that doesn’t ever feel like it will lead to life in the resurrection.
So as we move deeper into this Easter Season and embrace the gift of peace given to us by our Risen Lord, let us not forget that we are “one community.” No matter our walk of life, what church we walk or don’t walk into, no matter which team we cheer for, what side of the tracks we come from, if we are from a small town, the farm or the big city, if we are clinging to loved ones or clinging to memories, the gift of peace is for each of us and it is up to us to share it. So please let us when we say our thoughts and prayers are with the Humboldt Broncos Hockey Team, let them truly be raised up. And please let us be the support for each other to strengthen a hurting community, a broken body of Christ. And please let us not become trapped in our fears, regrets and doubts but rather be peace-makers and people of hope (our brothers and sisters need us). And please let us be mindful of each other, our loved ones, friends and neighbors and tell one another how much they are appreciated and forgive those hurts. And please let us not forget those we don’t know personally that suffer tragedy, pain and suffering each day all over the world for various reasons – we are all “one community” – the body (no matter how broken or hurting) of Christ. Near or far we are “one community.”
Peace be with you.
Rest in Peace.