At the close of the school Mass on Wednesday, we sang "Blessed Are They". The lyrics are taken from the Beatitudes, which are at the heart of Jesus' preaching and are found in Matthew 5:3-12. In light of recent events, I couldn’t help reflecting on the second beatitude:
Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
The past two weeks have been a difficult time for our school community. The sad and sudden death of a long-time member of this Eastside community, Brian Hawkins, has impacted hundreds if not thousands of students, staff members, alumni, family members, friends, and colleagues on our campus and beyond. Clearly, much sadness remains.
When tragedies occur, God does not necessarily promise clear or even any answers to the questions about why, how, or when. He does, though, invite us to comfort and support one another through presence and prayer.
An image in my mind is Mary at the foot of the Cross while Jesus was excruciatingly punished for his beliefs, actions, and identity. What possible explanation would have sufficed for her? But she was present to her Son and has become a model of humility, comfort, and consolation for us.
Similarly, the grace of God has provided an outpouring of comfort and consolation for our students and community. Sincere conversations, reflections, phone calls, handwritten notes, personalized e-mails, text messages, and more have built a strong support blanket for the Hawkins immediate and extended family, the Little Flower Parish community, and the Scecina Memorial High School community.
We are blessed to have so many kind and generous professionals on staff. Guidance counselors, teachers, administrators, and support staff have joined minds, hearts, and hands with colleagues from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to support, comfort, and console our students as the Gospel of Matthew envisions.
As we lift our eyes above the water level, let us also be thankful for signs of life in our midst. Earlier this week, I joined nearly 1,000 persons, including 10 of our students and staff, at the annual Right to Life dinner downtown. We celebrated the dignity of pre-born babies and the sanctity of life from conception until natural death. This week, many of our students from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish and Holy Spirit Parish voluntarily received the Sacrament of Confirmation at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral. As the parent of one newly confirmed and sponsor of another, I am rejuvenated by the joy that these events provide, thanks be to God.
Let us pray for the soul of Brian Hawkins and for his family. Let us seek peace of mind and heart through the knowledge that God wants to comfort those who mourn.
May God always bless you, and may we cultivate in one another the eyes to see and the ears to hear the blessings that He provides.