Those of us who are old enough will always remember the events of 9/11. Where we're you on the fateful morning? Ii had just finished saying the early mass at St. John Fisher's when I put the tv on and saw the events as they were unfolding. It was absolutely shocking and horrific to watch the violence and carnage on live tv.
My parish at the time, St. John Fisher, in the Beverly neighborhood on the Southside, was a community of firefighters and first responders. The mass we celebrated the following Sunday was packed with many firefighters. At the time of the collection, a huge "boot" was passed around to collect donations that would be given to help in the outreach efforts. Thousands of dollars were collected and a number of firefighters drove on of their fire trucks to New York as a sign of solidarity.
I was ministering at the time with a community of Franciscans and went out to help them witness to the healing that was so desperately needed. I saw the 9/11 site, the smoke still emanating, weeks after the attack. The destruction was gut wrenching. The foundation was laid bare...totally.
But out of the ashes, on that very foundation, a foundation of fresh water flows, life giving waters, flowing over the names of those who perished. From that foundation, a new building rose in testament to the human spirit.
Today's gospel speaks of building one's life on solid rock, a firm foundation, that will endure the many storms of life. We are called, as disciples of Jesus, to build the foundation of our lives on the rock of His gospel, rooted in the firm foundation of the Beatitudes. We are to become "beatitude" people, people who embody mercy, peace building, gentleness, standing firm in Truth, single hearted and poor of heart.
As we remember the events of 9/11, let us work at strengthening the foundation of our lives: our relationship with Christ, nourished by His Eucharist, letting the fresh waters of baptism immerse us in a Love that is boundless. God's Love makes for a very firm and sound foundation.
Peace. Joy. Fr. Frank