I was sitting at Mass last Sunday in a cavernous Catholic church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side near Lincoln Center, praying and thinking about the horrible events in America last week.
A white supremacist who lived in a truck covered with images of Donald Trump and his political adversaries terrorized the neighborhood in which I live and much of the country by sending pipe bombs to former presidents and other prominent Democrats and to CNN through the Postal Service. A virulent hater of foreign-born people and Jewish people killed 11 innocent Jewish worshippers using a lawfully owned semiautomatic rifle in a Pittsburgh synagogue.
And the president of the United States lamented publicly that these events might serve to halt what he called momentum toward Republican candidates in the nationwide voting next week because the news media — of which I am a tiny part — might dwell on these human tragedies and thus not pay sufficient attention to him and his message between now and Election Day.
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These events shook me deeply, as they did many Americans. Yet as the Mass on Sunday proceeded, the Gospel reading brought me some small understanding.
A blind beggar named Bartimaeus learns that Jesus is about to walk near him, so he shouts over the noise of the crowd surrounding Him: “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” When no one responds, he shouts it again — and then again and again, until eventually Jesus hears him and shouts back, “What do you want of me?”
Bartimaeus replies: ”O Lord, that I might see.” Jesus responds by restoring the blind man’s sight.
The scene is…