On this date, during the running of the 2013 Boston Marathon, two brothers set off two bombs near the finish line. Three persons were killed, and a estimated 264 injured, about sixteen required amputations. The youngest fatal casualty was 8 year Martin Richard. The pictured statue of him was erected on the campus of Bridgewater State University, MA, by his parents who both graduated from BSU.
Five years has passed, but the experience of that day, and the days that followed still stir feelings. I was working at my office, when alerts came in over the internet, and news flashes over the radio. We could not believe that something like that could happen in Boston. Later on, I walked down towards Copley Square, to the barricades set up around Boylston St., near the Finish Line. Flowers, balloons, notes, and running shoes adorned the fences. The area beyond the barricade, which on a normal day would be bustling with pedestrians and cars was deserted. I felt a great of sadness (still do) over the loss of life; for the surviving wounded.
A memorial service was held in the Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Cross. In one of the largest churches in Boston, built by labor and resources of mostly Irish Catholic immigrants, peoples of all races, faiths, and beliefs, came together. Together, they prayed for, and remembered the deceased and the survivors. They came together to unite as a city, a commonwealth, and a nation.
Now five years later, other tragedies continue to afflict this country, and other countries and peoples as well. Like Boston, most communities struggle to continue on, So the Marathon goes on, the runners will be gathering at Hopkinton, under heavy storm clouds to be sure, but they will run.
On a spiritual note, the Marathon reminds me of what St. Paul wrote in his Second Letter to Timothy:
“But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry. For I am already poured like a libation; and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.” (2 Tim 4: 5-7)
In moments of hard times, difficult times, tragic times, we need to turn to Jesus Christ. He said he would be with us always. In Christ, we will find guidance, strength, and hope. With him beside us, within us, we will be able continue the race, and win “the crown of righteousness” that awaits us who keep the faith.