We remember fifteen years ago, September 11th. We remember the tragedy of that day, the thousands of lives lost to violence and hatred. We remember the events of September 11 as though they were not possible, something that was not real; but it was real, especially for those families who lost loved ones.
We remember the impotence of our nation, the destruction and the desolation of that day and the days that followed. Every time we reflect upon this terrorist attack on innocent people, we ask why there is so much violence in the world, in our world, and we ask ourselves: “What should we do?” and “How should we react?” And you will find that the answers are different. For some, the answer is revenge, and for others, it is prevention, so that this tragedy can never be repeated. For us who believe, the answer is to live the gospel of forgiveness; It is time to practice what we believe, to forgive and pray for those who persecute us. I know that some or many will find this difficult, but that is precisely what is to be Catholic, to be a follower of Jesus.
For us, forgiveness does not mean that we should allow September 11 to be repeated. No, we should all work together to prevent the atrocities of the past from happening again: not here, and not any place in our world. Forgiveness gives us the essential part of who we are, for that reason today when we remember, it is yet again another opportunity to forgive. Fifteen years ago, a terrorist group took away our peace, and we cannot change the past. Today, if we still hold onto hate and revenge, they are again taking the peace of our soul, and this time we allow them to do so.
But more than all, I remember how people reacted to the events of that fateful day: all the churches where open and full of people praying, some praying for those who were lost, others praying for guidance to understand why this happened. At that time, every car, every store, every house flew the flag, people lit candles everywhere, and we were united. People really stood up for America, and it was a great moment of unity… Yes, that was the way it was
Fifteen years later, we have become our own enemy – through prejudice, racism, and discrimination; these are inflicted on others by violent acts on American soil, by American people. I believe that we remember the wrong thing. Where is the unity of September 2001?
After September 11, we saw in many places the message, “United we stand.” And at that moment, it was true, but I also believe that it can once more be true. It is up to us now to work and to pray for the unity of our country.