Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

15 years have passed since September 11, 2001.  The 24-hour news coverage played the collapse of the two towers continuously, which seared the image in the country’s mind and heart.  About 3,000 persons lost their lives; around 6,000 were injured.  Among the deceased were first responders—firefighters and police workers—who went into the chaotic area around the World Trade Center and to the Pentagon.  343 first responders lost their lives at the World Trade Center.  Those women and men incarnated the love of God at the moment, a love willing to suffer and offer one’s whole self.

We could add a modern-day image to those we hear today in our Gospel reading.  God is like a firefighter who runs into the burning building to save those trapped.  Jesus describes how God has special attention for the one who wanders away, becomes lost, and struggles to return back to the fold.  The stories show how joyful God is when God finds us again. They also show God’s movement towards us.  God does not wait outside for a resolution.  The Father of the prodigal son rushes to meet him; the shepherd searches for the lost sheep.  God, like a firefighter, comes into our broken world, marred by social and personal sin, to save us from our self-destruction.

We pray today for all those who have lost their lives on 9/11, their family and friends who mourn their losses, and all other victims of terrorism in the world.  We pray in faith that the Lord is laboring in our world like a firefighter looking to rescue us in a world in need of sustaining grace.

What are those global intentions on my heart and mind?  How have I prayed with God over the pain and suffering in our world?  When was the last time I felt the Lord rescuing me?

September 11th, 2016