Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) went down over the Ukraine on Thursday, 17 July 2014; and 298 people onboard perished in the crash.
Tragic news such as this always touches a raw nerve in our hearts, and we are led to pain-filled prayer for peace and God’s mercy. But the anguish is doubled when we realize that we know someone who was on that plane.
The Society of the Sacred Heart is united with the families, friends, colleagues, and communities of the 298 persons (passengers and crew members) whose lives were lost. We share the shock and grief of the world over this incident that confronts us with our vulnerability as human beings, the fragility of security and peace in today’s world, and the reality of evil.
As Bishop Peter Comensoli expressed in his homily during the Mass of Remembrance and Call for Peace held at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia on 20 July 2014: “The downing of MH17 was not an innocent accident; it was the outcome of a trail of human evil.”
As we mourn the loss of our Sister Philomene Tiernan RSCJ, we join the world in praying for peace and for the dawning of the light of grace that would dispel the darkness of evil. With Bishop Comensoli, we pray for “the conversion of heart of the perpetrators of this terrible evil, that they and all who are tempted to hide under the darkness of human corruption, will now walk on a path that upholds the dignity of every person.”
We take to heart Bishop Comensoli’s invitation to search our hearts and tend the gardens of our souls:
Here is where we might learn what we each can do about this evil tragedy, and all the human tragedies that are currently sprouting amongst the goodness of the world. Any good gardener will know that a well–planted, and well–tended lawn will help to keep the weeds under control. Our own human condition is like a garden. The question is, how are we planting and tending to ourselves? Are our own actions and dispositions, our affections and motivations, well–soaked in the light of goodness and truth and beauty? Have we sown seeds of justice and peace in our hearts; have we weeded out the roots of corruption and violence?