"They're praying," he said. "They need to be with the Lord and with one another. And I think that that's the most important thing. We might not have all the answers, and healing is going to take a long time to come. But the important thing is drawing nearer to the Lord, who has drawn so close to all of us by coming among us, by sharing our humanity and by sharing even our death."

In the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Christmas services are the best attended of the year. For many who go, it will be the one Mass they attend.

Lori said he prays in the days before Christmas that "something I might say, some aspect of the liturgy or the kindness that people might experience might just be the thing that would trigger people who don't practice their faith regularly to reconsider."

At St. Joseph Church in Fullerton on Monday, red and white poinsettias filled the dias as Lori delivered the homily to a crowd of more than 1,300. He thanked the congregation for its welcome during his first year in Baltimore and reflected on the ways Christians may question their faith in the aftermath of the Newtown shooting.

"Whenever tragedy strikes, people ask, 'Where was God?' We might have asked the same question, not only about Newtown, but about many of the things you and I struggle with every day," Lori said. "Christmas does not offer a glib answer to that question. Instead it offers a profound answer.

"The Christ child was born, not to avert us of the suffering that we impose on ourselves — he does not stay the hand of those who chose not to love — but he came to ensure that sin and death is not the last word about human history and sin and death is not the last word about our lives, either."

After Mass, William and Jane Kuntz of Perry Hall said they found Lori's words inspirational.

"I thought it was really poignant," William Kuntz said. "He refocused on our love for Jesus Christ. And, although it's not always overt, it's important to remember, God loves us."

Lori also is scheduled to appear this morning on Good Morning America. He already has taped the segment, in which he and evangelical pastors Miles McPherson of San Diego and Jeanne Mayo of Atlanta talk about "finding the Lord in the midst of this tragedy, and what we can do to console one another."

"People do flock to church when something really horrible happens," Lori said. "And I can't think of anything more horrible than the death of these innocent children.

"But the reality is we need the Lord and the community of faith all the time. We need the support in our daily life. We need not only the meaning we find, but what we really need is the presence of the Lord.

"And then, when we experience his presence in our life, come what may, we keep our bearings. And we find meaning even in the darkest hours of our lives."



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