September 6, 2020
Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time A
Ezekiel 33:7-9; Romans 13:8-10; Matthew 18:15-20
This Friday is September 11. That date is now a part of our national consciousness, and we use the term: “nine-eleven” to denote a major event in the history of our country. Why is this? First of all: most of us have vivid memories of this moment. Shock, disbelief, fear, confusion, and vulnerability might have been part of what we felt at the time. I remember that, as soon as I heard what happened, I called my classmate, Fr. Bob, a priest in New Jersey, whose parish had a clear view of the twin towers, to see how he was and what he might know about the situation. He answered the phone without a “hello” but instead said: “I am okay. Don’t worry. I know God is taking care of us.” This was from someone who lived close enough to see the skyline of New York, and who had people in his parish who lost their lives in that terrorist attack. It was a good thing for me to hear that morning, when I wondered what was happening in our world. To be able to continue to trust in God’s presence, love and watchfulness is not always easy. Sometimes it calls for great strength of will and tremendous faith. But, even in the worst of times, we know that God is here with us, and as Jesus reminds us in the Gospel: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Among the many strong memories I have from nineteen years ago, I recall the intensity of the liturgies of the Sunday following September 11: packed churches, people supporting each other, Christians praying with and for one another. Even out of such a terrible moment in our nation’s history, God brought together so many of us to show solidarity, hope and a commitment to follow the refrain of our Psalm, not to “harden our hearts” but to come into God’s presence with thanksgiving for our faith, family and the love that binds us together. As Fr. Bob reminded me that terrible morning: with God on our side, we are all okay.