Like me, I am sure you have read about the horrible massacre in Omaha earlier this week. Here are the pictures of the victims and a short bio on each one of them.
I do not wish to give much attention to their murderer, who claimed that he would be famous from this heinous action, but I read his suicide note and wish to briefly comment on it.
“I’ve been a piece of [expletive] my entire life it seems this is my only option,” the murderer wrote. “I just want to take a few pieces of [expletive] with me.”
In his mind and heart, he was a piece of garbage, and thus so were other people. They were not humans, but objects, and in this case, objects only fit to be thrown away and destroyed.
To his family, he then wrote: “I’ve just snapped. I can’t take this meaningless existence anymore.”
His existence was without hope, and when one’s life becomes full of pain, hurt, anger, and suffering, one must face the hopelessness that they believe in, which leads to despair. At that point, one has a choice: “Do I strive to change, reach out for help from God and others, and live, or do I give in to despair and kill myself (and in this case, horrifically, others)?”
Man lives on hope! Not wishful thinking, but true hope for fulfillment and for love: to love and to be loved. Pope Benedict just wrote his second encyclical and focused on this virtue. Is the pope and his writing irrelevant, as some say? This young man’s horrible story proves it is not so; rather, what the pope has written is vitally relevant to our life today.
At the beginning of Spe Salvi (“In Hope we were saved”), Pope Benedict writes (emphasis mine):
According to the Christian faith, â€œredemptionâ€â€”salvationâ€”is not simply a given. Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey.
May our Lord have mercy on the souls of these victims, bless their families, and we even pray in hope for his mercy on the soul of their murderer.