Tuesday greetings to all. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.
I went to the 8:00 A.M. Mass at my parish, Old Saint Patrick's. There was a small choir, a string quartet and woodwinds. It was lovely. A few very strong male voices around me in the pews added to the wonder of the music.
Fr. Ed Foley preached a moving homily centered on the reality that we cannot celebrate Christmas without knowing the whole story; that, in a sense, we celebrate incarnation in the shadow of the cross.
A few weeks ago, I attended a Christmas party and struck up a conversation with a man I had never met. We got on the topic of politics and eventually started talking about what has been going on here in the city of Chicago this year, specifically the spiraling murder rate. We talked about the fact that when there is a terrorist attack, like the one that occurred in Berlin, where 12 people lost their lives and 48 people were injured, it becomes an international news story that garners the attention of the world. New methods of securing the safety of people are pondered and implemented. But we wondered why the killing here in Chicago has not resulted in any kind of concerted effort by the mayor, city leaders, religious leaders, corporate leaders, the great thinkers in our many colleges and universities to address this spiral of violence and death.
Here is a link to the article in today's on-line version of Time magazine. In short, the article reports that over the Christmas weekend, 53 people were shot in the city of Chicago and of those 53, 11 were killed. Where is the international outrage? Why isn't this the lead story in every on-line news agency, print news publications, international television news stations? I would surmise that one of the reasons is a racial one; most of these killings are occurring in poor neighborhoods on Chicago's south and west sides, where the urban poor, mostly black, reside.
When I was listening to Ed Foley preach on Christmas morning, about the incarnation and the shadow of the cross, I couldn't help but think that I live in a city where the cross casts an enormous shadow, certainly across the lives of my brother and sister Chicagoans who suffer violence and death in their families every single day. But that shadow is cast across City Hall as well and across the hearts of those who just don't care enough to do anything.
As you can tell, I am frustrated. After having spent five weeks on a federal jury, where I listened to former gang members talk about shooting people, I wonder what I need to do to help turn our city around. I'm trying to figure that out. The shadow of the cross impels me to do so.
Sorry for the "downer" post today. I live in hope, but a hope diminished these days here in Chicago.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.