Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Christ is Risen!
The Marathon bombing touched all of us. Members of our parish were runners and spectators near the finish line at Copley Square. We are grateful they were not hurt. A number of our young people and their parents knew the surviving suspect from school. They are heartbroken. One of the fatalities was a young woman from my home town of Medford.
I attended a debriefing at Hellenic College/Holy Cross led by Bishop JOHN of approximately 50-60 students, a significant number of whom were at or very near the finish line and witnessed unspeakable tragedy. Some were highly traumatized. Most of us know someone who was injured or know someone who knows someone who was. We postponed the final Akathist service for a week because of the travel ban in Cambridge and the surrounding areas as police combed our neighborhood where the suspects lived, the 7 Eleven was robbed, and the MIT policeman was murdered. All in our backyard.
The prayer of the faithful is, "Lord, show me my delusion." The prayer of the faithless is,
"Lord, give me what I want." It is the faithless that become extremists, not the faithful.
Thanks be to God our parish community was spared injury and death, but we know that many of our neighbors were not. The latest count is four dead and over 260 wounded in some way. We must reach out to them no matter who they are, what religion they practice, what ethnic group they belong to, with all the love and compassion we can muster. Love knows no boundaries and recognizes no limits. Donate, volunteer, and pray as each opportunity arises.
Our recent celebration of Holy Pascha should spur us to share the light of Christ in concrete ways in our suffering city just as our Lord shared his life with us. What can we do now that life is returning to normal? We can pray more, love more, and be more generous not waiting for the next tragedy to strike, but practicing these Christian virtues all the time. If we do, then should another ctisis come, we will be prepared to meet it as the Lord commands.
Faith without works is dead, but it must be the right kind of work with the right kind of motivation. Give without expecting anything in return and with extreme liberality where the need is great.
If we want to be loved, we must practice love.
If we want peace, we must practice peace.
If we want compassion, then we must practice compassion.
If we want forgiveness, we must practice forgiveness.
Take care ofyourselves and your loved ones, family and friends. We could all use a little tender loving care right now.
St. Mary's is a place of refuge for many. Our hospitality and warmth are well known. Our doors are open and our hearts as well. We must never let fear close either of them. Our job in this world as Christians is to serve the least of the brethren. They are all around us now. They are us.
Yours in the Risen Christ,