Along the way Contributors

Christ’s grace gives us courage to step into the wounded places

Emily Lopez is the lead consultant for adult evangelization.

by Emily Lopez

Tragedy has a way of revealing our true character. Whatever we want to tell ourselves — or others — that we believe becomes immediately relevant in moments of crisis.

On Ash Wednesday, each of us were called to a personal evaluation of our faith. We likely woke up that morning, with a plan for attending Mass to receive ashes and moving on about our day. Maybe we went so far as to consider where we would find ourselves and how our display of ashes might be received as a witness of our Catholic faith in those places.

If you were monitoring news coverage of the Chiefs parade, you likely felt a sense of pride in seeing Harrison Butker’s prominent dark ash cross on his forehead during his interview.

We could not have known what was to come — a day of jubilee ending in a tragic loss of life. We would never have imagined that a celebration of our Chiefs, in our city, would become a day of mourning.

In the immediate moments of the shooting, we searched for information. We may have hoped that answers would provide some understanding. Eventually, we’ve come to realize that no amount of information can make sense of the events of Feb. 14, 2024. Regardless of what we now know — or will know in the future — we can never fully understand the loss of innocent human life.

In seeking answers that cannot be found, we are called to lean into our faith. Living through the tragedies of life, we cannot know God’s timing or intention. To be Christian is to live in the tension of belief in a God of the universe while existing in a sinful world.

Our response to this dichotomy is the truest test of our faith. As those around us ask questions, we also wonder — do I really trust in God’s love? Do we witness the power of God’s goodness in the midst of tragedy? Do we actually live the confident belief that we profess in the almighty Maker of all that is seen and unseen?

This senseless act of violence has wounded each one of us, bringing all of Kansas City to a more profound realization of our vulnerability. In this vulnerability, there is also openness — an opportunity to listen and share with others the real fear that rises in our hearts.

In this uncertainty, as questions may surface about God’s power or presence, we are called to be God’s presence to others.

We are invited to bring Christ through our kindness, care, service and prayers. His grace gives us the courage to step into these wounded places with compassion, sharing the tremendous power of his mercy and love.

Mother Mary, our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.

About the author

Emily Lopez

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