We live in a world that does not want the responsibilities of having to maintain a relationship with God at the individual level and yet when a disaster occurs or something goes wrong, God is the first to be blamed! The phrase, “How could God allow such a thing to happen?’ is one that springs immediately to mind. This is hypocrisy at its best!We cannot have it both ways. I think that what we are experiencing is a not so subtle form of rebellion against authority. This is a rebellion supposedly in the name of the god of ‘personal freedom’ but is really just a slide towards moral decay as anyone who feels like it does what they want in the name of exercising their various rights.

 

The biggest problem with the modern understanding of rights is that it rarely, if ever, comes with a concomitant understanding of responsibilities. There is no right without a corresponding responsibility and sometimes the responsibilities are quite onerous. This is the price we pay for our humanity. If we want a socially cohesive society in which to live then we have to be willing to circumscribe absolute freedom with the idea of the Common Good.

 

I write this reflection 20 months before you read it and so it is a couple of days after the massacre in a school in Newtown, Connecticut where the vast majority of the victims were six and seven year olds. The Us Constitution supposedly protects the rights of individuals to bear arms. Well, the lawmakers have a responsibility to ensure that that so called ‘right’ does not end in such massacres. If the right to bear arms cannot be controlled such that six and seven year olds die then they, the politicians, must take at least some responsibility for the consequences. They have the power to ban assault weapons from the hands of the general public but they choose not to in the name of freedom? This is a ridiculous argument that cannot be defended in any sort of meaningful manner!

 

Lord Jesus, help the US politicians to act responsibility on this issue and so make it at the very least impossible for citizens to own assault weapons. Help us to understand our real responsibilities to protect the innocent and those least able to protect themselves.