"Evil is all around us"
This is obviously a very difficult day for all Washington Redskins fans. I'm sure that there are many sports teams who have a familial quality to them, but it seems even more so with the Skins. So, when one of our players dies, it's like a family member dying. Life seems to stop, or at least everything else seems to pale in comparison with the tragedy of the loss of a loved one. And, Sean Taylor was loved.
We don't know yet what exactly happened on Monday morning or the days, weeks, and maybe even years leading up to it, but it is a tragedy. A young man who appeared to be changing his life dies at the age of 24. He showed so much promise in professional and personal ways. He was arguably the MVP of the Redskins; his absence in the past 2 1/2 games has played a major factor in those games resulting in losses. He changed many of the games he played in and probably had the most intimidating presence of any football player on the planet.
The readings at Mass this morning seem to lead in to this, so I told the students and adults who were there that nothing lasts forever in this world except for Jesus. As massive as the Temple in Jerusalem was, it was destroyed. As dominating as the Roman Empire was, it collapsed. As powerful as Sean Taylor was, he died. Only Christ lives forever. It is my great hope that Sean lived with Christ and died with Christ. "I hope he went to Church on Sunday" (the old line from Fr Wells).
It has been great to see the Redskins and their fans turn to prayer in such a strong way. I hope that continues...that we all continue to pray for the Taylor family. Also, we pray for those responsible for his death, and try to forgive them. But, in our grief, let us not get lazy in our theology and blame God for this - "God had other plans for Sean" was a quote I've seen already. Sean Taylor died because someone chose to kill him. God didn't kill him nor did He cause him to die. Sean's death is a part of God's passive will (in which He allows evil), not His active will.
One final thing for all of us to remember, which is another quote from FW: "evil is all around us". We are reminded of this every day, but especially when a direct act of evil takes the life of someone we love.