Homily – April 29, 2018

There is a principle that says; things joined to the same thing are joined to one another. In the gospel Jesus tells us he is the vine and we are the branches. We draw our nourishment from the life giving vine. If we are cut off from the vine we die. Joined to the vine we are one with all the other branches.

Last Monday’s tragic events on Yonge Street, not that far from here, brought this reality of oneness to the forefront. Around noon the lives of innocent men and woman going about the daily business were forever changed when a young man took it upon himself, for whatever reason, to rent a truck and drive it down the side walk on the west side of Yonge St. barreling through men, women and children, killing twelve and seriously injuring fifteen others.

We thought these things happened elsewhere, Paris, London, New York, Boston, but not in Toronto, not in North York, not down the street. I venture to guess that in one way or another we all felt we were hit by that truck. Toronto, North York, Willowdale: we are all members of these communities. We are all effected when our community is attacked.

The scenes of people of different races and faiths coming to place flowers, light candles and pray at the makeshift memorial wall gives witness to our oneness. St. Paul reminds us that the life and death of each one of us has it influence on others. We can’t go through life untouched or un touching. We can’t help but to have touched, shocked, threatened and saddened by last Monday’s mass killing and maiming of innocent people.

How do we cope with this tragedy as it affects each of us in one way of another? First of all we can thank God we weren’t strolling on Yonge Street at noon of Monday. Next we can appreciate more deeply how precious and precarious is the gift of life and the people who are part of our lives.

We never know what a day will bring our way. Last Monday causes us to appreciate the gift of life more deeply and appreciate the gift of family and friends.

Thank God we didn’t get caught up in the possible hysteria of seeing this tragic act as the work of a Moslem or Isis terrorist. Monday’s tragedy was the act of a disturbed and obviously angry young man with an axe to grind against women; women were his prime targets and sped down the sidewalk running over good people.

All this man’s hatred and anger were answered the by the courageous and generous response of peoples of different faith, racial and social backgrounds that make up that local community as they helped and comforted the injured as best they could.

It may take a long while for the injured and those who witnessed this whole thing to get over this awful experience.

What can you and I do. We can keep in our thoughts and prayers the good people who died that day. We can keep in our thoughts and prayed those were injured that day. We can keep in our thoughts and prayers the families of those killed and those injured. We can keep in our thoughts and prayer all those men and women, first responders and ordinary people who did what they could to be of help. We can keep in our thoughts and prayers Alex Minassian and his family upon whom he’s brought such shame.

We can pray for ourselves that we never lose faith in the goodness of ordinary men and women and children like ourselves, a goodness and a love that gives us the strength to get on with the ordinary living of our ordinary lives.