Monday, September 12, 2016

Fifteen Years Later...

Everyone who is old enough remembers where they were fifteen years ago on 9/11.  For those who lost family members or friends, for those who were eyewitnesses, for those who were among the first responders...the day is literally and figuratively seared in their hearts.

With so many reflections and remembrances to ponder, perhaps our most patriotic gesture in commemorating this tragic day is to keep the survivors and the family members of victims in our prayers.


For some reason, this year's anniversary brought out a host of new questions: What if I were among those who called out sick that day and didn't go into work at the World Trade Center?  What if someone else on my team had volunteered to make a sales call in my place, or delivered the food order to help simplify my route, and so my life was spared?

What if someone had led me out of the building, and I know that I could have never done it by myself? It seems that fifteen years would feel like the blink of an eye. I would like to think that my gratitude would still be overwhelming--and that in some meaningful way I would try to honor the memory of whomever had played such a role in saving my life.

I wonder if such a thought experiment could help me grow in a deeper appreciation of Jesus' gift of self on the Cross.  If I put myself in Barabbas' place, recognizing that I was the guilty one somehow set free, might I  appreciate that Innocent One was on Calvary that day instead of me?  If I put myself in the Beloved Disciple's place, might I begin to see the Scriptures being fulfilled before my own eyes:

"...he was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity.
He bore the punishment that makes us whole,
by his wounds we were healed." (Is 53:5)

Maybe this year's commemoration of 9/11 can help us reclaim the memory of when we first really realized that Jesus' death was a sacrifice for each of us personally--for you and for me, here and now.  Freely, intentionally, and selflessly: Jesus continues to invite me to stand at the foot of the Cross with his blessed Mother and realize that God himself has taken up all of my brokenness, all of the wounds I have inflicted on others.

The Lord Jesus wants us to realize that there is nothing left to fear because "It is finished" (Jn 19:30).  He wants us simply to live each day with a grateful memory of the Gift--whether it's been fifteen or fifty years since we understood that we live because of the One who has set us free.


Let's pray that those who still mourn the loss of loved ones on 9/11/01, and all those survivors who still suffer from that day of darkness, may know that the Wounded Healer continues to walk beside them each day.  Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us--