The young men and women who sought holy communion at the nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida ended up participating in their own mass and sacrifice. Theirs was an unfortunate thanksgiving meal, and one that reflects poorly on their churches, many of which do not support them or sponsor LGBT ministries.
What happened at the nightclub Pulse is a massacre wreaked upon young gay men and women. When one looks at the photos and the ages of these young people, one is horrified: they were all beautiful young people, murdered when they were gathered together to celebrate their being young, being gay, being on the threshold of a future life full of energy and potentiality. They were innocent people crowding a nightclub dance floor on a late spring weekend, as do millions of young people across America. Why a nightclub? Because it's a place where the young can gather, to be among others like themselves, all of them in search of friendship, connection, and love. "Only connect," said E.M. Forster. And then these young people were mauled down by a madman who loathed gays, a man who likely was taught to hate gays, a man who knew nothing of love, of tolerance, of acceptance of those different from him. He knew only how to hate and how to kill.
When we attend a Mass, people celebrate the sacrifice of Christ for the world: for everyone, for the good and the bad. He gave up his life for the world, a giving up that the secular world finds uncomfortable. Christ knew his death was coming, but he would have given up this sacrifice if he could have, for in the Garden of Gethsemane, he asked his Father if he could let this cup of sacrifice pass him by. In the end, however, he decided, "Not my will be done, but thine." But in accepting his death by the cross, he chose according to his own free will, to become the Angus Dei, the Lamb of God.
The victims at Pulse also became lambs of God.
However, the youth at Pulse hadn't any choice. They were innocent, and like lambs sent to the slaughter, they didn't choose death. They were filled with life, their pulses correlated to the lively pulse of the music and to their dancing, to their laughter, to their joy of being alive and young. Death, for them and most millennial, was the last thing on their minds. And this is as it should be for young people: they had family, friends, lovers and a future. That is until a hater snuffed out their lives in the most brutal of manners, laughing as he did so and calling upon Allah to observe and laud his actions.
William Blake said, "Everything that is/Is holy." Forty-nine holy young men and women were sacrificed under the roof Pulse nightclub. Forth-nine saintly young people, forty-nine martyrs. For there is no doubt about it, these young people died because of who they are or rather were. They were gay, people who are still not accepted by a large portion of the world. Many see them as sinners, as perverts, as scum. In some countries of the world, they are put to death or jailed for a lifetime--just for being gay.
The pulse of forty-nine gay people stopped forever.
Is the word tragedy sufficient to describe what happened to them?
Has that word been too often used, to the point that it means nothing?
Then let's keep to a word that still possesses power: the massacre of forty-nine young people, The Holy Sacrifice of Innocent Gays.