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Praying in the Storm: A Reflection on Mass Shootings

crosses with names and flowers in front of the Robb Elementary School sign
Marco Bello | Reuters

A Reflection by Canon for Cathedral Life Shana McCauley

In the last two days, as we have learned more about the shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, TX, where 19 children and 2 teachers were killed, I have been struggling with so many questions – as a mom, as a priest, as an American.

This tragedy is not isolated; it comes on the heels of 10 people dying in a racist attack in Buffalo, NY; 1 person at a church in Laguna Woods, CA; 6 people in Sacramento, CA; and so many more mass shootings in this country in this year alone. All of this as we passed the grim toll of more than 1 million Americans dying from Covid-19.

In Mark 4, Jesus tells several parables, then sets sail with his friends. While they are traveling, a great storm arises. Waves beat the stern and the boat is swamped, but Jesus is asleep in the hold.

This scripture has come to me again and again this week – the feeling of helplessness, of being tossed to & fro in the terror and resignation that this all will happen again. “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” the disciples ask. It feels too brazen, but I find myself whispering, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Jesus wakes up and calms the sea.

As people of faith, this is a moment for prayer (so, so many prayers). Not in the politician’s casual “thoughts and prayers” way, but deep in our souls. Prayer is about relationship, about communication – a dialogue between us and God.

May God show us the way and may we have the courage to follow. May God bless those who have died, and their families and friends. And may God heal our broken hearts and dry our tears.

Jesus said to the sea, “Peace, be still.” May we find the strength to be still and find peace.

God our deliverer, gather our horror and pity for the deaths at Robb Elementary in Ulvade, for the victims of the shootings in Buffalo, Laguna Woods, Sacramento, and for those countless others killed by gun violence, into the compass of your wisdom and strength, that through the night we may seek and do what is right, and when the morning comes trust ourselves to your cleansing justice and new life; through Christ our Savior. Amen.

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