Rejoice in the Lord Always, again I say rejoice. The entrance antiphon that gives this Sunday its name.
But how do we rejoice on this particular Sunday in the face of such tragedy?
As I listened to psychological professionals on television address the question of what do we tell our children to allay their fears, all of their answers, helpful though they were, for me, they came up short.
This Advent Season is precisely that time of year when each day the world is growing darker and darker, and we as Christians face the confront the darkness with light.
We face this tragedy with the hope of eternal life. We entrust all the victims into the loving merciful hands of God, and Christ who conquered death.
I do not believe that any human being can end my life. He or she may kill me, they may murder me, but they cannot end my life. Nor can death forever separate me from the ones I love.
This is our faith and at times like this we must hold on it ever more tightly.
We search for explanations, in the hope that if we can explain it, we can prevent it. The hard truth is that while we can and should do better, we will never be able to prevent every act of either sin or mental illness.
We rejoice today, however, because for us death is not the end. To quote the old Rite of Funerals, "when the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death, we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven."
Now more than ever we must embrace this truth.