Sunday, September 11, 2011
A 2011 Reflection On The Tenth Anniversary of 9/11.
“Peter approached Jesus and asked him, ‘Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times?’” (Matthew 18: 21-22)
Some may say it is ironic, others would say it is the Spirit of God speaking to us; that the above readings were part of the Liturgy of the Word for the Eucharist celebrated today; September 11th.
It has been 10 years since the terrorist attacks on this country, ten years since we saw the World Trade Center in New York, ablaze and then collapsing into a large heap of rubble. Ten years since we saw the Pentagon on fire, with wounded victims walking across its lawn. Ten years since we saw a smouldering hole in a Pennsylvania field, where an airplane whose passengers had struck back against the terrorists, had crashed. And ten years since we saw crowds in the Palestinian territories and other Arab countries dancing in the streets over the attacks.
There was much grief over the deaths of the victims, sadness for the victim’s families, and anger at the terrorists and those who support them. This desire for vengeance; the desire, the need, to strike back has involved us in two wars which are still being fought. It has created an atmosphere of fear and suspicion of anyone who is of different culture or different faith. We live in a country where Arabic-American citizens are looked upon with suspicion, where hate crimes against Muslims are on the rise.
Against this background, we have the above readings ringing in our ears, prodding us, challenging us to let go of our hatreds, to learn to forgive. And this is not easy, but to follow Jesus is never easy. God calls us to forgive, not for the good of those who harmed us, but for our own salvation. The longer we let hatred fester within us, the easier it will be for us to lose the power to love as Christ has commanded us to love.
So let us accept the challenge, let us begin to cultivate forgiveness in our hearts, so that love will ultimately blossom across the world.