Amidst Tragedy, the Beauty of Faith

Homily delivered at the church of pilot William McCool the day after the Space Shuttle disaster.

The following is a transcript of a sermon delivered on Sunday, February 2nd, 2003, at St. Bernadette's Church in Houston, Texas.

"Now, master, you may let your servant go in peace." These are the words of Simeon as he welcomes the Christ child into the Temple. They are not, however, our words this evening. No, with the loss of the crew of the space shuttle Columbia earlier this morning, we have anything but peace. That peace and joy that Simeon felt at this culminating moment of his faith life is not ours. Rather, we need to back up in his life to see where we are at.


We await consolation, just as Simeon, patiently and faithful, awaited the consolation of all of Israel. We are this Simeon. Indeed, as we specifically mourn the loss of Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut to make it into space yet not return, I am certain that everyone in Israel is Simeon, literally waiting for the consolation of all Israel. And everyone in India may be Anna, waiting their consolation as they mourn the loss of their national heroine, Kalpana Chawla. And we, too, are Simeon, awaiting the consolation of our country and the consolation of those here in Houston most directly affected.

We are Simeon.and Simeon is a good person to be. For we see in Simeon the rewards of a faithful life. Simeon patiently awaited the Lord's coming; and he was ready when the Lord came. It is this patient faith of Simeon we want to make our own, as we wait patiently for the consolation of the Lord.

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