As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, our participation in the Mass reminds us that the world is still much in need of healing. We are in need of healing from hatred, anger, rage, envy, bigotry, injustice, prejudice, violence, abuse and other kinds of sicknesses that are not physical in nature. We are all called to open our hearts and lives to be converted by God’s healing love and power.
Jesus died the most gruesome, violent death one could imagine. His love for us is more powerful than the evil and violence that killed him. All of us are called to be healers. We can heal hearts and lives by our own power of love.
We also pray for that same courage that sustained the victims of this tremendous tragedy; not only the victims but also the firefighters, the police, the medical community, our civic leaders, the clergy and the countless others who came to meet the needs of those who were stricken.
And so now, 20 years later, as people of faith and citizens of a nation that proudly stands for freedom and peace — one that works for justice, even at the cost of our youngest and our bravest — we must come together to remember the past, for we promised never to forget. At the same time, we also gain strength for the future in knowing that like our Risen Lord, whose cross seemed so powerful, we are reminded that death did not hold him, nor did death have the last word over him, nor does it for those whom we have loved and lost.
Those who attacked us and those who seek to harm us did not know then, but they surely know now, that in our nation — from police station to fire house, from brigade headquarters to air wing, from living room to classroom, and to the very pews of our holy churches, and in synagogues and mosques throughout this great land — good people today of every faith, and even some who have no faith, gather in confidence and humility to shout a message to every corner of the earth that yes, evil make take the hour, but goodness and will always take the day.
With confidence in a Risen Lord and trust in his promise that love is always stronger than hate and his life is stronger than death, we do as he asked us, and commend to him those we have lost, especially the 13 fallen soldiers who most recently gave their lives in Afghanistan, and embrace each other with his love knowing that our days and our lives are his and his alone. May he comfort those who grieve, may he grant peace to those who struggle, and may he see fit to bless the work of the brave hands of those throughout this great and blessed land who serve as peacemakers, children of God in the most noble of ways. May our prayers rise before him today and every day so that we may be worthy of uttering those words that console us and bind us together as a nation, and may he see fit to continue to bless America, through all of us. Please, God bless America, the land that we love.
Father T.J. Varghese is pastor of Mary Mother of Mankind Church in North Providence.