The “Lone Wolf”: an Unsuspecting Threat

My prayers go out to all of those adversely affected by the perverted actions of Ismaaiyl Brinsley – the disturbed man who assassinated NYPD Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu on December 20, 2014.

Brinsley, a deranged human being and a “lone wolf” is solely responsible for the pain and suffering caused by the horrific violence he perpetrated that fateful day against his girlfriend and Officers Ramos and Liu.

According to various press reports, Brinsley’s violent rampage began on the morning of December 20th  in Baltimore, Maryland where he shot his 29-year-old girlfriend in the stomach, stole, her cellular phone, and boarded a bus to New York City. Later that day Brinsley arrived in NYC. A few hours after his arrival, he snuck up on the unsuspecting officers and killed them in cold blood. At the time of their murders the officers were sitting in a police vehicle with their weapons holstered. Sadly, there was no opportunity for the officers to defend themselves.

Following the assassinations, Brinsley ran into a subway station and committed suicide.  Mercifully, albeit probably unintentionally, Brinsley’s suicide spares the officers’ families and the rest of the country the pain of going through a public trial that would no doubt exacerbate the recently exposed political and social tensions that exists in many communities.

Unfortunately Brinsley’s depraved actions have left a trail of sadness and destruction. An innocent young woman suffered a serious gunshot wound to the abdomen and two brave police officers- Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu are dead. The families of all three victims are left to cope with their enormous pain and suffering. Like other victims of violent crimes, the police officers’ families and friends will have to learn to live with the deep grief that stems from the brutal, senseless, sudden and permanent loss of their loved ones.

God, please comfort and help them all!


You Matter, I Matter

Most, if no all, of  us have either read or heard the slogan :”Jesus is the reason for the season.” The slogan is intended to remind Christians that the celebration of Christmas is a deeply spiritual feast that acknowledges God’s great love for his creation as expressed through and in the person and work of Jesus Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity.  To those outside of Christendom the slogan is a statement of faith, a testimony made by Christians that summarizes the essences of Christmas: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son so that whosoever will shall be saved.” (John 3:16)

During the Christmas season, more so than during other times of the year, our purposeful acts of kindness and our gifts to others are symbolic of God’s great gift to the world: The Lord Jesus Christ. That is why gift giving matters. However, neither the cost  nor the brand of the gift matters to those recipients who are focused on the true meaning of Christmas. What matters  to them  is the spirit (the intent of the heart)  in which the act of kindness is bestowed. Given in the spirit of love things as simple as a sincere  greeting; a piece or bag of fruit; new or gently used clothing and toys, and an invitation to sup are just as valuable to and treasured by recipients as expensive jewels and other high priced things.

Christmas gifts should symbolize concern, unity, peace, reconciliation, and love. That is why they matter. A Christmas gift is a way of saying you matter to me and this gift symbolizes my love for you and is intended to remind you and I of God’s great sacrificial love for the world that was manifested in the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ.