“We must never allow September 11th to become a time for protest and division. Instead, this day must remain a time for promoting peace and mutual respect.” ~ Timothy Cardinal Dolan
I still remember the heated words of one of my Michigan City parishioners all those years ago shortly after the terrible tragedy on September 11, 2001. The person was speaking about the Muslims. He made a very blanket statement: “It would be better if they were all dead.”
I could not believe what I was hearing. This, from a believer. From someone who called himself a Christian. From someone who claimed to believe in God, as well as God’s love and mercy. Yet, at that moment in time, there was no place in his heart for mercy or forgiveness or love. There was only hatred. Raw, cold, dead hatred.
It is that hatred that is a very real part of this sinful world in which we live. It is that hatred that Jesus faced, dying a horrible death on the cross. It is that hatred that Jesus asks us to reject.
There are “bad” people in every ethnicity, in every religion, in every culture. Would it be better if the entire world were dead? Brothers and sisters, we are called to live lives of love. We are called to be witnesses to the Lord. We are called to show that this world can, indeed, be a better place if we so desire and to work toward the positive change that is so desperately needed.
There will be many programs on television and the radio this weekend commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Our screens will be filled with images of buildings collapsing and burning and of the names of those who perished.
I daresay that events of our recent past and of today will be put into the same mix as well in order to stir the pot of hatred and bigotry. Don’t let people who hate steer you down a path contrary to our faith. Love will always win.
That was a terrible tragedy in our nation’s history. I do not claim otherwise. However, in the midst of all the programming that will take place today, let not hatred claim a stake in your heart. To allow ourselves to turn from love to hatred would be an even worse tragedy.
Let freedom, peace, justice, and love ring out in our land.
FAITH ACTION: Pray for the victims of violence around the world today. Pray as well, for an end to the violence that is perpetrated against all sorts of innocent people worldwide. Pray for peace.