One of the victims of last weekend’s shooting in Dayton’s Oregon District was Nicholas Cumer, age 25, a Pennsylvania native who had just accepted a job at Dayton’s Maple Tree Cancer Alliance. From all accounts, Nicholas was excited about his new job, and the people at Maple Tree were excited to have him join the staff.
When he died, the wave of grief swept out from the place where he fell, to his family, to his friends, and to all the people at Maple Tree. That one death saddened many, perhaps more than we will ever know, and of course Nicholas was not the only person who died in that shooting incident.
Like the tornadoes that went through Dayton on Memorial Day, the shooting teaches us once again that our lives are tied together. We are bonded in blood, in human blood that is so essential in every human life.
We Missionaries of the Precious Blood, like many other people of good will, believe that all life is precious. Each life has value. Nicholas’ life. Logan’s life. Beatrice’s life. Saeed’s life. Monica’s life. Derrick’s life. Megan’s life. Thomas’ life. Lois’ life. And Connor’s life.
Your life has value. And your voice has weight. If you feel, as we do, that our governmental representatives can and should work together toward stopping gun violence, then please let them know. Use your voice, as we are resolved to, to offer consolation and hope to those who are mourning. Keep an eye out for the alienated and welcome them back into the circle of God’s love. Be open to the voices of others and listen to what they have to say. Respect the wisdom that God gives to each of us.
In that way, in placing ourselves in each other’s hands, and into the will of God, we can bring about God’s justice and peace. The state motto of Ohio is “With God, All Things are Possible.” It is possible to turn our hearts to peace and justice, to recognize the value in every life. It is our mission. It is our assignment. It could help save us all.