Brother Paul’s Thoughts and Musings Regarding the “Signs of the Times”

Sunday, May 9, 2021
Sixth Sunday of Easter Mothers Day

Recently I heard an interview of John Woodrow Cox who this year
authored the book Children Under Fire (2021: Ecco). In this book and
interview, Cox talked about how gun violence has impacted our children
over the course of the past twenty-plus years. What he shared was
shocking, even though I was aware of a majority of his content. He stated
that when an event of gun violence occurs in a school or a community
setting, we have the tendency of only considering those young people who
are killed or wounded. Cox though called to attention the trauma of those
children who witnessed or in other ways were affected by such events. He
stated that since the 1999 Columbine school shooting in Colorado, over
250,000 children have had to deal with and, if you will, process what they
saw and witnessed in seeing their friends and classmates “gunned down.”
This has caused so many young people to doubt if they have a future. We
like to ask children the question: What do you want to be when you grow
up? For many of these youth, that is a moot and irrelevant question
because they have their doubts if they will be living when they reach
twenty years of age. This begs the question of how such children and
young people are motivated to do well in the important years when they
are being educated in our schools. Cox also discussed that the survivors of
gun violence have their physical lives affected in that the stress and trauma
of these events will shorten their life span.

During and after this presentation, I could only think of how Jesus in the
Gospels related to children and warned us about corrupting them. In
Matthew’s Gospel we hear Jesus state: “If any of you put a stumbling block
before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you
if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned
in the depth of the sea” (18:6) and “Take care that you do not despise one
of these little ones, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face
of my father in heaven.” (18:10). In Mark we hear: “But when Jesus saw
this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me;
do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God
belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as
a little child will never enter it.’ And he took them up in his arms, laid his
hands on them, and blessed them” (14:16). With this said, it is very clear
of how Jesus would respond with disgust to the gun violence towards the
young today.

Today is Mother’s Day, and in remembering and celebrating our
mothers, we are offered a wonderful reference in how to care for our
children if they have been harmed in any way. Hopefully for most of us, if
not all, our mothers have been those foundational, caring, nurturing,
supporting, and loving individuals in our lives. They were always there for
us. They celebrated with us when we were happy and were there to pickup the pieces when we came home physically or emotionally beaten up.  They were the number one support of our early years. We may not all have
all the characteristics of our mothers, but we can still offer a supportive,
soothing, and positive presence for our children. And as Mary, the mother
of Jesus did, we can ponder all of events and happenings of our children’s
lives in prayer and offer God’s message of hope and promise to the next