Jesus is our
hope and way of life

If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God.

This past Friday, at 1am, police were called to our neighborhood. 28-year old Angel Carrion was dead. Killed by a gunshot wound to the chest.

If you read the various news stories you will see different views of what happened. Time Warner News talks about loud parties at the residence, all night partying, mysterious middle-aged figures in black cars, children in the midst of adults doing adult things. Police there all the time. They paint a picture of broken families, broken lives.

WTEN shows a different side of the story. Angel was a father of three, a friend, someone who was brother to those who weren’t even his family. Angel’s childhood friend Jorge said, “He was a good friend. He was a good father. He helped out the community. Nobody is perfect in this world, but he didn’t deserve this.” Other neighbors noted their worry for the children who live here. One neighbor said: “For the kids, it’s going to be scary for them, too, knowing there’s a shooting right up the road.”

We began this year dedicating it to the theme of family. In my annual report I said: “…we do not just come to church to have our needs met. No family exists just to serve one or a few members. The same for the Church – our family of faith is about all its members and our relationship with the head of the family – Jesus. We belong to His family. Our family of faith does not exist to just meet individual needs. We exist to meet the needs of our fellow family members and a world that badly needs to know Jesus.”

Angel and his family, this neighborhood, its children are part of that world that needs to know Jesus. They know Him through us. In us they should see faith in Jesus’ saving power. In us they should see the joy that comes from a life that takes all the good we, and men like Angel do, to the next level through unity with Jesus. Jesus died for all. To free all from sin. As Angel’s friend Jorge said, “Nobody is perfect in this world.” In all of our imperfection the world has to know that Jesus is there for us, to save us, to raise us up. He is in this neighborhood, calling us to reject sin and grab His promises – life without end even in tragedy.

In Jesus we are bound together – parishioners, Angel, his family, this neighborhood – a bond so strong that no sin, even murder, even tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or sword can harm us. In this bond, in the life we have in Jesus, let us offer hope to our neighborhood and all who so need Him Who is our hope and new way of life.