Sunday, today, September the 11th marks the fifteenth anniversary of the “Attack on America” felling the Twin Towers, United Airlines Flight 93 going down in Pennsylvania and the attack on the Pentagon. All were directed at significant symbols of the United States, financial, military and government to surprise, disrupt and possibly affect our influence in the world. Fifteen years later we take a moment to pray for the victims of all those tragic events, the families who continue to grieve, mourn and live without their loved ones, co-workers, fire fighters, police officers and first responders. With heightened awareness of a world fraught by violence and discord, we must pray for God’s mercy on those who would attempt violence again, and for all those people who are experiencing violence and war today. Let us pray for all our brothers and sisters in the world whose lives are in jeopardy today and tomorrow.
That is one of the many reasons we come together each Sunday around the table of the Lord. To listen once more to scriptural words written and first proclaimed long ago, words that still have meaning in our lives today. Jesus invites us to follow him, to be his disciples; to be instruments of his peace, bringing his message of mercy and compassion to a world that is broken, fractured and in great need of healing. Pope Francis reminds us that in one sense the church is like a “field hospital” listening to people’s needs, aware of their personal pain and ongoing challenges to live in this world. Where can we find support? How can we make sense of our life experiences, hearing that a close neighbor died in a car accident, a co-worker is laid off, a family member is experiencing great distress?
By ourselves these experiences are daunting, sometimes beyond our comprehension. And yet, when we come to the Eucharist, when we come with open ears and open hearts, we may feel God’s presence, listen to God’s voice speak in the quiet of our hearts, a word of consolation, a word of challenge, or the offer of peace for our hearts. There are no easy answers to some of life’s questions; sometimes all we can do is live the question in our lives and in our faith. Over time we may simply discover that we are not in this all by ourselves. That we are on a grand journey, Christ is our companion, and we walk with a number of saints, people who have overcome adversity and found their way.
Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta lived her faith in spirit of her own personal spiritual darkness for over 50 years. She never gave up doing God’s work and sometimes was aware of Christ’s presence in her work and in her life. Let us never give up, always returning to the table of Word and Sacrament to discover the light, hope and peace of Christ. The Eucharist on Sunday is so important the North African Martyrs summed it up this way “without Sunday, we cannot live.” Let us not make the mistake that we can do without Sunday, without the Eucharist, but rather join in Eucharist so that we can live.
Father Larry Hendel, Pastor