An honest self-examination regarding the growing epidemic of violence

As we continue to mourn and pray for those who lost their lives in the senseless and cruel acts of gun violence in the communities of Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton, let us pray for the Lord’s mercy on those who died and for their families who are deeply grieving. Let us pray that our nation may undergo an honest self-examination regarding the growing epidemic of violence in our midst and to seek effective ways to recommit ourselves to the value, safety, and respect that is due to every human person in our midst.

As Christians, we are called to value, respect and defend every human life because every person is made in the divine image and likeness and every life is offered salvation in Christ’s Death and Resurrection. Furthermore, our Savior rejected violence, exhorting His followers to turn the other cheek. He even endured a brutal death at the hands of a violent state, despite His divine ability to fight back. Why, at every turn, would Christ reject such violence if not to make clear that peace is the only path to justice? As Christians, we must fearlessly proclaim that every human life is of immeasurable worth. We too are called to reject all senseless violence and every attack on all human life. To do anything less is to betray the Lord of all life.

The senseless violence that we are witnessing in our society – especially at the hands of those who find other humans to be “less than” – flies in the face of the truths of our Catholic faith. It directly contradicts our belief in the sacred dignity of the human person. To advocate any position that holds that some lives are “less than” other lives betrays the Lord of all life.

If our society comes to see the value of every human life, from conception to natural death, more of our fellow citizens will come to recognize the face of Christ in our neighbors, in the vulnerable, in the stranger, in the unborn – and reject any rhetoric which fuels division in our midst. We will also recognize the true horror before our eyes when innocent people die at the hands of attackers who betray the Lord who has come that “they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (Jn. 10:10).”

The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos.