Devastation

The reading in today's Morning Prayer is from the Book of Job. It served to bring to my mind once again the two horrendous and fatal accidents of the past few weeks in my native New York.One was on the Taconic State Parkway in which a van drove the wrong way on the highway and crashed head-on into an SUV. Four children and the driver of the van perished, as well as three men heading to the home of the daughter of one for Sunday dinner. Along with others, I could enter vividly into the scene from personal experience of the route traveled, of the anticipation of a shared dinner with loved ones.Then just last week the fatal collision of a small plane and a helicopter over the Hudson River. Five Italian tourists from Bologna, a father, mother, and teenage son, and a father and teenage son, all friends, perished, along with three in the private plane. Once again one pictures the ordinariness of the scene before take-off. And the sudden, swift horror a few moments later.But terrible as is the fate of the dead, one grieves even more for those who lost loved ones. The husband of the van's driver. The father and mother of the three girls killed. And the wife and mother of the Italian tourists, who at the last minute had decided not to go on the helicopter tour. In her inconsolable mourning would she rather have gone aboard and accompanied her loved ones in death?Sharing in small measure their devastation, one comes anguished and speechless to the God of mercy and hopes against hope in the promise of Christ.

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.

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