9/11 is forever etched in the collective consciousness not only of Americans but of the entire world. What kind of hatred so strong would drive people to do something so utterly vicious? As the world watched in total disbelief as those planes crashed into the twin towers of the World Center, people were wondering, “Where is God in all of this insanity?” I was so stunned that day, I thought I saw the Satan’s face. And I do not want to see him again, ever.
I want to remember that day in the faces of the responders to the scene, full of heroism and courage. They risked their lives, and some lost theirs, to save others. I want to believe God was moving among the debris, which was not His making, inspiring people to great heights of love and concern for the victims. I saw His Presence in the tremendous outpouring of sympathy for those injured and of worldwide condemnation for the perpetrators. While it all happened because of the evil there was in some people, it also brought the best and all the goodness in many others.
And carnage continues. Today, even as we remember 9/11, many innocent people are losing and have lost their lives and homes in Iraq and Syria. I find it so ridiculous how fully armed men would be so afraid of unarmed and defenseless people as to end their lives whom they see as threats to their flimsy beliefs. And I again ask, “Where is God in all this insanity?” Definitely, not in the those would take the lives of the innocents. In the faces perhaps of those who would rather die than acquiesce to evil? In those hearts of those who cherish their beliefs even if it meant death. In the courage of those who have chosen to stay behind and minister to those afflicted by the conflict. In the unwavering love in families who stayed together in the face of such adversity.
It is a troubled and troubling world we live in. There are so many things that are not right. There is so much hatred and evil all around. Still in all, I believe there is more good than evil in this world. There are more people who would rather love and do good than those who would hate and do harm to others. There is more courage in the daily living than in taking the life out of others. There is greater generosity in homes and villages than than the greed we read daily in the news. There is more joy shared among people than enmity that would divide them. There is more that binds in our common humanity than the petty differences that would keep us apart. I write these words not out of a superficial religiosity trying to make sense of the absurdity I see around me. It is the reality I see in my everyday, ordinary life. In my family. In our neighborhood. In our community.
Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“To you who hear I say, love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you,
pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak,
do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you,
and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
For if you love those who love you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.