My dear parishioners and friends of our parish community: “We adore you, O Christ and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross, you have redeemed the world.”
September 11th has become a significant date on our nation’s calendar as each year we remember the terrorist attacks on U.S. soil that killed so many Americans in one single day. But it should be a significant date on our Catholic calendars as well. That was the day 479 rescue workers – mostly Catholics – died doing their duty at the World Trade Center among the 14,000 victims.
Catholic priests were heroes that day, too: the rescue workers had the presence of mind to arrange to have priests come to give them general absolution on their way into the two buildings, and serve those who made it out. September 11th is not a liturgical day, and those rescue workers weren’t necessarily saints. But they were regular Catholics who were willing to lay down their lives for their brothers and sisters. What greater love has a man than this?
It’s providential that today, September 14th, celebrates the Triumph of the Holy Cross and that Monday, September 15th, is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. The first feast should console us about those who fell, and the second, to console the families. Today is the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. Originally, it was called the Exaltation of the Cross, as it commemorates the victory of Jesus Christ’s Cross over the powers of sin and death.
By dying on the Cross, our Lord is no longer above us or unreachable, he has joined us and turned our sufferings from a way of defeat into our path to everlasting life. The Cross of Jesus shows us at once suffering and victory. Standing always close to Jesus on the Cross is his mother, our Blessed Mother Mary and Saint John, the Apostle. True and faithful disciples of our Lord.
They stood and watched our Lord’s sacrifice, death, and gate to new life. So is it any wonder that, months after the tragedy, workmen pulled a cross out of the remains of September 11th? Yes, a cross! A cross of the beams, once part of the two towers. Today, it’s simply called the “Cross at Ground Zero.” I believe it is housed in a church close to the site.
Jesus Christ is Victor over sin and death forever! His Cross is our hope! Pope Benedict XVI visited Ground Zero in April 2008 during his pastoral visit of hope to the United States. He reminded the world to turn to Jesus our hope. “Hail, Holy Cross, our only hope!”
Late Summer Blessings to you all!
Always, Father Jim
Pope Benedict XVI Visit to Ground Zero