December 3, 2021
There were empty places at Thanksgiving dinners this year. The following persons no longer shared special meals and laughter with their families and friends: Azarion Melvin, 14, found shot to death on Oct. 31; Traci Taylor, 49, was deliberately run over on Nov. 3; Ritchie Moorfield, 26, lost his life on Nov. 4; Tykwon Washington, 22, died of a bullet to his head on Nov. 7. Grief always seems compounded when loved ones die near holidays. With Christmas approaching, this is especially true for the families of these victims. And so we pray. VIGIL PRAYER: God of the sorrowing, we pray for the family and friends of Azarion, Traci, Ritchie and Tykwon who have been touched by tragic death. May you wipe away the tears from their eyes and comfort them by the knowledge that nothing can separate them from your love. We trust that Azarion, Traci, Ritchie and Tykwon are now experiencing new life in your kingdom. Let us not become indifferent to the loss of life caused by acts of senseless violence. May we be instruments of peace in building a world based on respect and care for all our brothers and sisters. SCRIPTURE: REVELATIONS 21:4-6 [God] will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, [for] the old order has passed away. The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then he said, “Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.” REFLECTION: How do these words resonate with me during this season of Advent? For what do I wait? For what do I hope? How is Jesus the reason for my hope? PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS: Make me a channel of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me bring your love. Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord, and where there’s doubt, true faith in you. Make me a channel of your peace. Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope. Where there is darkness only light, and where there’s sadness ever joy. O Master, grant that I may never seek, so much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love with all my soul. Make me a channel of your peace. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. In giving of ourselves that we receive, and in dying that we’re born to eternal life.