Sixteen years ago, men flew planes into the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon. More men failed to reach their target when heroic men and women rebelled against their hijackers. What would bring people to commit such an evil action? How could anyone think that crashing planes full of people into buildings full of people was an OK thing to do? They, like the Pharisees, were following a law that they believed to be from God. They believed that because their imam declared a holy war, they could commit atrocities. The laws of Islam, as the terrorists understood it, permitted this.1
Today Jesus asks all of us, “is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?”
A new person shows up at the parish. They aren’t dressed well, and are acting strangely, but seem to want to talk to someone. Mass starts in 2 minutes, and I don’t really have time to talk, so I find something to do so that I look busy.
Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil?
I meet some friends for lunch. After the usual pleasantries, we begin discussing what is happening in the neighborhood. It turns into gossip about all the people I don’t like.
How do my actions save life, rather than destroy it?
We do not know the day nor the hour that God will call us to himself. As we mourn the loss of life on and after September 11, let it be a reminder for us to remain ever vigilant about the state of our own souls.
Monday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
Col 1:24–2:3; Ps 62:6-7, 9; Lk 6:6-11