Today marks the 20th anniversary of the horrific terrorist attack on the United States and the collapsing of the World Trade Towers on 9/11/01. Over the last week, we have seen these images replayed on television and we remember what occurred then and how it affected so many lives since. Most of us remember exactly what we were doing that day 20 years ago. I vividly remember watching live on television, in complete disbelief, as the second plane crash into the second tower. Then the immediate no-fly order throughout the entire country followed by the eerie silence of the cleared skies. It was a scary day for our entire nation and one of great sadness. I reflect on the many lives lost in the acts of terrorism itself, and the loss of so many first responders who heroically went to save others. What a terrible day for our nation!
So twenty years later, what can we do to make things different for our next generation? It seems to me the first thing we can do is to honor those “first responders”. We can be mindful of those men and women who put their lives on the line every time we have an emergency. They jump into action every time we have a need and they do so every time without hesitation. We often take for granted their work and the risks they take to do their jobs. Today, we should thank those in our midst for their service each and every day. Please take a moment to write a note of gratitude to any member of the police or firefighters that we might know.
The second thing we can do is to practice forgiveness in our homes. We cannot ask others to forgive such horrible acts of terrorism in their lives if we are not willing to demonstrate forgiveness in our homes and offices. It seems to me that when we hate or become afraid in our own lands, then “they” win; whoever “they” are – foreign or domestic. Whenever we change our behavior and go down to their level, then “they have won.” Instead, we must raise the bar and become true forgivers; not only of them but also of every one who hurts us. We become bigger and better people. When we choose to love instead of hate, then the Lord wins. When we choose to forgive instead of seeking revenge, then the Lord wins. We want the Lord to win because any other solution brings hatred, vengeance and death to us all.
Today may we remember that terrible day of 9/11 by becoming men and women, boys and girls, of gratitude and forgiveness. Then the Lord will have his victory.
Finally, later tonight we will have our annual BBQ. After a year of COVID absence, I am eager to mingle and meet you all in person and get to know parishioners. I hope you can also join us for outdoor Mass at 5pm immediately prior to the event. All are welcome.
I ask you to be a little patient with me as I got very sick last Sunday of the pilgrimage. I, along with 18 other pilgrims, got a GI virus that took us out of action for several days. I lost 10 lbs. in 3 days and I am still very weak. I am recovering, getting stronger, and plan to be at the BBQ to greet you all and mingle. See you later!