……from your Pastor’s Desk
Next Saturday will mark the twentieth year since the September 11 (“9-11”) terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, New York City. Most of us can recall exactly where we were when we first heard of the attacks. But the details fade.
While the starkness of that day and memories of the weeks that followed have grown dimmer, the insecurity that was created that day continues to haunt our lives. Over these past twenty years, fear has spawned more horrible wars, and the world is still suffering the evils of terrorism.
In contrast, this Sunday’s readings are filled with hope for our future. Isaiah assured the captive Israelites that, if they repent, their land and their people will again prosper and they will rejoice at the lavish blessings that will come to them.
The relationship between the first reading, from the Prophet Isaiah, and the Gospel, from Saint Mark, is very clear. Our God is a God who does miracles from time to time in order to manifest His divinity. Probably what bothers us is that God does not make miracles all of the time. This question points us to the heart of the mystery that we live: creation and redemption.
God wants us all as fully alive as possible, living for Him and for one another. But – we live in a world that is broken. This is a world in which children die, a world with wars, a world with hatred and deception, lies, cover-ups and abuse. This is a world where both good and bad thoughts struggle for our attention. This is a world in which it is not easy to choose for the good in every situation. We are tempted to choose for the values of the world: for money, for power and for pleasure.
Yet it is still a world which God loves. God chooses to love each one of us, honoring our freedom while at the same time inviting us to love Him in return. There are many signs of God’s love: beauty, truth, incredible acts of kindness, art and music, the parish community, and the like.
Because God does not interfere with our freedom, we continue to live with the brokenness of the world and its sinfulness, as has been all too painfully brought to our attention this past month. It is this same brokenness that is spoken about in the Letter of Saint James. This letter speaks about common human experiences such as pride and envy. We Catholics are not any better than anyone else. But, on the other hand, we can have God’s Grace and help when we ask for it.
The Word of God today might be inviting us to see God’s presence when we see miracles, great and small; to see God’s presence when people do good; to see God present in all good and to see God inviting us to live a different way when we experience evil and brokenness.
Blessed be God!