Downed jet unites us in loss of common humanity

Shared loss

The central story of the Malaysian plane shot down over the Ukraine is a story of the 298 people who died on the plane, of their relatives, friends, and of all who share with them a common humanity, writes Andrew Hamilton SJ in Eureka Street.

Each person who died and each person who grieves them is a person, each with their own hopes, loving and loved by others, each with commitments and plans made null in an instant.

The deepest questions these deaths raise are the unavoidable questions that face us all: questions about the patent precariousness and vulnerability of our lives, about what matters to us when our grasp on the future is so tenuous, about the mysterious conjunction of love, loss, pain and gift, and about the capacity of the human heart for evil and the terrible consequences that follow.

These questions are best pondered in silence and shared in intimacy, not answered in a sermon. In our first response to the crash our common humanity is better expressed in sorrow than in curiosity, in sympathy than outrage, in pondering than declaration, in prayer than in cursing.

The news that many passengers on the plane were travelling to an International Conference on HIV Aids in Melbourne was especially poignant. Accompanying people with HIV AIDS also takes us into deep human places: of illness, loss, stigma, heroism and faithfulness. That people who may have given their lives to enhancing other people's lives by healing and accepting, preventing death and encouraging empathy should have their lives and their contribution to life cut short in a momentary act of violence is a dark mystery.

FULL STORY Elegy for the 298 of MH17 (Eureka Street)

Archbishop Christopher Prowse MH17 National Day of Mourning address (CathNews Media Portal)

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