This Sunday, September 11, 2011, will mark the tenth anniversary of the attacks by Muslim extremists on New York and the United States of America. This was an event that changed the psyche of the western mind irrevocably. It was an attack on freedom, liberty, enterprise, and the western world as a whole. All of us have a 9/11 story; I remember where I was and what I was doing and how the events of 9/11 impacted me not only as a westerner, but as a Catholic-Christian. I prayed and continue to pray for everyone, both victims and assailants on 9/11 and the events that transpired leading up to this day. I pray that the innocent victims are welcomed into God's warm embrace, and that those behind this undeniable act of evil give their account before God and repent, but I'm not blogging tonight to discuss these things.
At Mass last night there was something that struck me. I have a great iPhone application that has the Roman Missal including the daily readings. Knowing that next Sunday would be September 11, I decided to have a look and see what the readings would be. What I saw - given the occasion - was quite profound and solidified in my mind the fact that the Catholic Church has the answer for everything. Below is the First Reading and Gospel Reading (respectively) for Sunday, September 11, 2011; twenty-fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time. You have a read of them yourself and think about how perfectly suited they are to the day; the significance of it all:
"Anger and wrath, these also are abominations, and the sinful man will possess them.
He that takes vengeance will suffer vengeance from the Lord, and he will firmly establish his sins. Forgive your neighbour the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray. Does a man harbour anger against another, and yet seek for healing from the Lord? Does he have no mercy toward a man like himself, and yet pray for his own sins? If he himself, being flesh, maintains wrath, who will make expiation for his sins? Remember the end of your life, and cease from enmity, remember destruction and death, and be true to the commandments. Remember the commandments, and do not be angry with your neighbour; remember the covenant of the Most High, and overlook ignorance.
Refrain from strife, and you will lessen sins; for a man given to anger will kindle strife, and a sinful man will disturb friends and inject enmity among those who are at peace." - Sirach 27:30; 28:1-9 (First Reading)
"Then Peter came up and said to him, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?'
Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, `Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, `Pay what you owe.' So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, `Have patience with me, and I will pay you.' He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, `You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?' And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.'" - Matthew 18:21-35 (Gospel Reading)The fate of the vengeful; and how to forgive. How blessed are we to belong to a church that has the answers? How blessed are to belong to a church, instituted by Christ, that foreknows what the hearts and minds of people around the world will be filled with on the anniversary of a day that struck terror, grief, hatred and anger in so may?
On Sunday, September 11, 2011, on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York and the United States of America, heed these words from Scripture and forgive the transgressions of others. For the transgressors, they are answerable to God and God alone.