Sunday, September 11, 2011

"Tragedy" vs. "Attacks"

The word "tragedy" when applied to 9/11, always bugged me.

A "tragedy" is, for example, when a child dies, accidentally, of an inexplicable disease.

Or a mom is killed in an automobile accident.

Or someone falls off a roof while attempting to fix a leak.

No one's at fault. There's no one to blame. All we can say is: "this is God's will" and try to deal with it. With prayers, one hopes.

Today, I grumbled—to myself, I thought, but evidently not without earshot—at the words of our parish program: "...the tragic events of September 11, 2001."

"They weren't `tragic' events," I mumbled. "It was an attack."

My good friend Father Jonathan Gaspar, overhearing me, quipped: "I know what you're going to blog about tonight."

I denied it vehemently. No way!

Father Gaspar was, as it turns out, correct.

Here's the thing:

Whom do you forgive when a child dies of an unknown disease? The disease?

Whom do you forgive when a mom dies in a car accident? The accident?

Whom do you forgive when the guy falls off the leaky roof? The leak? The roof itself?


The reason we need to understand that 9/1/01 wasn't a "tragedy" but rather an attack is very simple, at least to a Christian.

It gives us the opportunity to forgive.

While you can't forgive a roof, or a disease, or an accident, you—and I—can surely forgive those who attack us.

That's the point. Hard as it might be, we are bound to forgive our enemies. That surely must be the only reason why God created enemies in the first place.

Because God did create those who attacked this country ten years ago. And you know what? He loves them very much. God doesn't deal in trash. He deals in love.

Most of you heard the readings of the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time today. The Scriptures fairly scream the word: FORGIVENESS!

So stop the "tragedy" baloney and call it what it was: an attack by our enemies.

That, you see, clears our eyes from the dimness that clouds the commandment Jesus left us:

Love. Forgive. Seventy-times times seven. In other words? Always.

May our Merciful Father forgive and continue to love us all. Amen.