Remembering 9/11: "Love is more powerful than hate"

Over at CNEWA’s blog ONE-TO-ONE, Fr. Elias Mallon, our Education & Interreligious Affairs Officer, has just posted his own personal reflections about 9/11 — with some thoughts, in particular, about this Sunday’s Mass readings:

One of the most difficult aspects in Christianity — and also one its foremost characteristics — is the challenge of Jesus to “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly” (Luke 6:28 and elsewhere). Paul repeats the command “bless those who persecute you; never curse them, bless them. … Never repay evil with evil. …” (Romans 12:14, 17).

Looking ahead to the liturgical readings for the upcoming month, I was struck by the first reading for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, which falls on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks:

In a way that is almost eerily prophetic, this reading is challenging us Christians to give witness in a way we rarely have the opportunity to do. The Word is not calling us to minimize or forget our pain and loss, much less the pain and loss of others. Nor is it calling us to call evil “good.” It is, however, challenging us in a most disturbing way to give witness to our conviction that love is more powerful than hate, forgiveness more God-like than vengeance and healing more powerful than death.

The vengeful will suffer the Lord’s vengeance,
For he remembers their sins in detail.
Forgive your neighbor’s injustice;
Then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.
Could anyone nourish anger against another
And expect healing from the Lord? …
If one who is but flesh cherishes wrath,
Who will forgive his sins? (
Sirach 27:1-9 passim)

The reading for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time in the Latin Rite was not chosen because of 9/11. It just happens this year to coincide with the tenth anniversary. After the reading is proclaimed, the lector will say “The Word of the Lord” and the congregation will respond “Thanks be to God.” The Word of the Lord? What does that mean to me? And what does this particular word mean to me on this particular and painful occasion? Will I choose to ignore what I have just acknowledged as God’s Word? Or will I reject it outright?

In a way that is almost eerily prophetic, this reading is challenging us Christians to give witness in a way we rarely have the opportunity to do. The Word is not calling us to minimize or forget our pain and loss, much less the pain and loss of others. Nor is it calling us to call evil “good.” It is, however, challenging us in a most disturbing way to give witness to our conviction that love is more powerful than hate, forgiveness more God-like than vengeance and healing more powerful than death.

Check out the rest.

  • http://causa-nostrae-laetitiae..blogspot.com Leticia Velasquez

    Our faith means nothing until its put to the test. Jesus said, if you love only those who are good to you, what good is that? Your virtue must exceed that of the Pharisees.
    I had relatives and friends who almost died in the Twin Towers. I want every radical Muslim who wants Americans dead to repent, convert to Christ, and experience His forgiveness and salvation. I want them to go to Heaven, and be my brothers in Christ on earth.

  • Greta

    No doubt, love has power and is to be sought over hate.

    I note… “Nor is it calling us to call evil “good.” It is, however, challenging us in a most disturbing way to give witness to our conviction that love is more powerful than hate, forgiveness more God-like than vengeance and healing more powerful than death.”

    We are at war with evil and no matter how much we would like it to go away, it will not on its own. Those who did this evil on 9/11 and those that have joined their ranks and those that support them with donations want to see the infidel dead. Having lived through WWII, we cannot stop to focus on forgiveness now any more than we could have after going ashore in Normandy. We needed vengence to drive to the heart of Germany and Japan. After the evil is taken from the earth, we did forgive the Germans and Japanese and they became allies. America is good at doing this with a very long track record we can take pride in as part of our heritage coming from our Christian founding.

    We need to make sure we do not forget what was done to this country and what this same group of people based on the same beliefs within Islam would like to do to us now. To act like the war is over simply given them strength and denies our soldiers the support they need now. When those who say Islam gives them the right and obligation to strike the infidel as on 9/11 or even worse, we need to remain on a war footing so as to not face again the prospect of this type attack and looking at what went wrong.

  • http://stfrancesxcabrinichurch.org Deak Pete

    Deacon Greg, are you preaching this Sunday?

  • Deacon Greg Kandra

    Pete …

    Probably. I’m waiting to hear back from one of our priests, to see if he wants me to preach for him.

    I’m also preaching at an interfaith service at C.W. Post University on Long Island Sunday afternoon.

    Busy!

    Dcn. G.

  • http://www.ramblingfollower.blogspot.com Rambling Follower

    A Survivor’s Story: Life after 9/11 Comes with Obligations

    http://ramblingfollower.blogspot.com/2011/09/survivors-story-life-after-911-comes.html

    My husband’s story…..dovetails beautifully with Fr. Mannon’s words.

    Peace.

  • http://feminine-genius.typepad.com/morning_star/ gsk

    Forgiveness is powerful when appropriately applied, but we must be careful not to step in and “forgive” what was done to others. Just as it would be awkward for me to go and forgive a drunk driver who killed the man down the street whom I barely knew, it’s also insulting for, let’s say, a Taiwanese woman to forgive al-Qaeda for killing almost 3000 people in NYC. Thus, it’s the friends and family who have the difficult work of forgiveness to do, and those who were on the periphery should simply pray for their ability to do so.

    Christians know what should be done, and we also know that vengeance doesn’t preclude some form of justice. Ultimately, though, we should live the tenets of our faith in order to show that joy can be had despite suffering, and that peace is founded on the Rock of Truth.

  • http://stfrancesxcabrinichurch.org Deak Pete

    Busy is good, Greg! Father David give the other Deak one weekend for preaching every other month. I was worried that I’d draw the 11th, but thankfully Fr. has it. I will deal with those workers in the vineyard next weekend!

  • Deacon Greg Kandra

    This one is a tough nut to crack, Pete, as you can imagine.

    We’re having a big concelebrated memorial mass at 11:30, and my pastor will be preaching at that. I’ll probably do the 1 p.m., for our resident Czech priest, who asked me last weekend if I could do it for him. He thought it would be better for an American and a New Yorker to preach (though I think it would be interesting to hear his perspective…)

    Dcn. G.


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