Yesterday evening I read in total disbelief — like many of you, I expect — about the tragedy that occurred in Sri Lanka on Easter morning during Christian celebrations commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is hard enough to make sense of why someone would take the life of another person, but how someone could deliberately murder 290 people and severely injure more than 400 on such a holy day, while those people were supplicating themselves in prayer, is unimaginable and inconceivable.

One of my very closest friends and his family are from Sri Lanka, and I called him as soon as I learned about the bombings. My sentiments for my friend and his family aside, this travesty has yet again caused me to reflect on the course of human history. We have all read of the wars of past generations and what we call the “barbaric” ways people have sometimes treated one another. I like to think we have made progress as human beings, but horrific acts like the one in Sri Lanka yesterday, the mosque shooting in New Zealand last month, the attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh last October — all make me question whether we truly have.  Some groups say that these kinds of actions are advocated by certain religions. From what I know of world religions, I have a hard time believing that.

I am fortunate to know people of all religious beliefs. I do not know of a religion that encourages people to do harm to others. What I find in common across all religions is summarized in my own Catholic religion in two simple thoughts: ”Love God with your whole heart, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Some refer to it as the “golden rule.”

Please join me in praying for the victims of this horrible tragedy. May we all find a way to truly treat one another in a way we would like to be treated.