Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
This weekend the calendar calls us back 20 years. Who of us who were living then, will forget three numbers and a slash? The second plane hit while I was watching coverage of the first hit. The horror got summed up forever in “9/11”.

So many lost lives at the Twin Towers as well as the Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania. Then came further loss of life with the illnesses that befell the firemen and other rescue workers, fumes breathed that would claim them in later years.

Three days after “9/11” the President went to the site and spent time with the rescue workers. Someone handed him a bullhorn.

President Bush: Thank you all. I want you all to know -- it [bullhorn] can't go any louder -- I want you all to know that America today, America today is on bended knee, in prayer for the people whose lives were lost here, for the workers who work here, for the families who mourn. The nation stands with the good people of New York City and New Jersey and Connecticut as we mourn the loss of thousands of our citizens.

Rescue Worker: I can't hear you!

President Bush: I can hear you! I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people -- and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!

Rescue Workers: [Chanting] U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

President Bush: The nation -- The nation sends its love and compassion --

Rescue Worker: God bless America!

President Bush: -- to everybody who is here. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for makin' the nation proud, and may God bless America.

Rescue Workers: [Chanting] U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

The President spoke without a teleprompter. He crawled through the rubble and then spoke from his heart and in a few simple words spoke for many of us. He was there in word and in deed. How presumptuous of me to try to recall an event of such magnitude in a few lines.

Last Sunday, I asked you to think of COVID – 19 as we heard the encouragement of Isaiah. The scripture readings this weekend played more than “9/11” background music for me.

The memory of “9/11” as well as the current challenge of COVID, to say nothing of climate change and its effects across the country from fire to flood, to the skewed ways of thinking about masking or not, to the violence that sees ba¬bies shot in their mothers’ arms... how do we respond to memory and current events?

I ask myself: What makes me do the things I do? Do my faith convictions underlie my actions? In today’s second reading James asks, “What good is it, my brothers and sis¬ters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?”

He goes on and concludes the thought with, “Indeed someone might say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Demonstrate your faith to me without works, (i.e. you can talk about it but you can’t show it, so...) I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.”

Mike Cherney, who writes some of the daily reflections on Creighton University’s Online Ministries - from which ministry I frequently ‘borrow’ ideas, offered the following:

“The son of one of my nephews took his final vows as a Do¬minican about a month ago. He recently preached on to-day’s passage from James’ epistle. He emphasized the difference between knowing what is good and doing what is good and how Jesus taught us how to love, but then showed us what it is to love.”

May our memories be moments of ‘lessons learned.’ May our present make the happy hope of tomorrow.

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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