Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 13, 2020 Cycle A
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.B., Chaplain
Saint John Paul II National Shrine
 Washington, D.C.

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Sunday Reading Meditations

“O God of love, compassion and healing, look on us.”

Today’s readings talk about the greatness of the mercy of God. Through a parable, Jesus shows us that God’s mercy is infinitely greater than human evil and hatred.

Ten years ago [nineteen years ago n 2020], we witnessed an unprecedented manifestation of evil. The 9/11 terrorist attacks showed us what human hatred is capable of doing. We were all tremendously shocked by this terrible tragedy, with its violence and pain. We all remember exactly what we were doing and where we were at the moment when the news came. What was happening seemed unreal. This was not some kind of strange movie. The diabolic images were real!  I was on the other side of the Atlantic. However, a French newspaper front page headline was really true: “We are all Americans.”

I should like to recall what Pope John Paul II said on September 12, 2001, during the General Audience:

 “Yesterday was a dark day in the history of humanity, a terrible affront to human dignity. […] How is it possible to commit acts of such savage cruelty? The human heart has depths from which schemes of unheard-of ferocity sometimes emerge, capable of destroying in a moment the normal daily life of a people. But faith comes to our aid at these times when words seem to fail. Christ’s word is the only one that can give a response to the questions that trouble our spirit. Even if the forces of darkness appear to prevail, those who believe in God know that evil and death do not have the final say.”

When we think about the sacrifice of so many innocent lives, the only image that comes to our minds is the image of the Cross: the innocent victim killed by human hatred and evil. Looking at the Cross, we find someone who conquered evil at its root.

Before such a great manifestation of evil, we need to find that which overcomes it.

When Pope Benedict visited Ground Zero in 2008, he started his prayer with these words: “O God of love, compassion and healing, look on us.”

Before the presence of Divine Mercy, let us think about what happened ten [nineteen] years ago. Through Divine Mercy, may God receive all the victims into his bosom. May Divine Mercy heal the hearts of people who lost their loved ones. May Divine Mercy comfort and console those who suffer from injuries and illness. May Divine Mercy convert the hearts of terrorists. May Divine Mercy inspire the authorities to defend innocent lives through just means. May Divine Mercy help all of us to be builders of a civilization of true love and peace.  Amen.