11 September 2011


This afternoon, I watched as five babies received the Sacrament of Baptism at St. Brigid Church in South Boston.  It's fascinating -- and a bit chilling, really -- to know that upon their baptismal certificates will forever reside the date of September 11.  Baptized in 2011, I would imagine that when they hear of 9/11, they will ask the same question that I often asked of my grandparents: Where were you when you heard about Pearl Harbor?

Today, we remember those lost on 9/11.  This is the same.  We do not, however, wait breathlessly for a commemorative tape from Osama Bin Laden.  This is different.

Today, we read at mass three verses of Paul's Letter to the Romans (14:7-9):
Brothers and sisters:None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself.For if we live, we live for the Lord,and if we die, we die for the Lord;so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.For this is why Christ died and came to life,that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
This is the same.  However, for the last ten years, we have read this passage differently.  For, if Christ be both the Lord of the dead and the living, then He exists as the Lord of all -- those on the earth, those above the earth, and please God, those below the earth.

I watched babies baptized today: little saints, little people, all of them having the potential for greatness.  And yet, reminded by painful memories, capable of either causing or being the subject of terrible heartbreak.

Today, yes, we remember the dead, we pray for them, we ask our God "Why?" and "How?" and at the same time, beg the Lord to spare us from another such catastrophe.  And yet, at the same time, we recall that deep within all of us is the potential for saintliness, goodness, charity and love.  The picture remains incomplete, however, if we do not also realize that human beings are simultaneously endowed with the potential to do terrible, egregious things to their fellow residents of this earth.  Members of my species -- flesh of my flesh -- have killed the innocent, flown planes into buildings, crucified the Son of the Living God.

At the same time today, we are reminded by Saint Paul that in the process of our redemption, Christ first died and then came to life.  By the very nature of this process, Christ claimed us all as His own, his precious possession.  From the moment of our baptism until the day we die (and beyond), we belong solely, completely, eternally to the Lord.

Blessed, blessed are those babies baptized on this day of all days, September the eleventh, in this year of grace, two thousand and eleven.  And still more blessed are those who went before these innocent babies, for though all leave this earth without innocence, all the baptized also leave with the mark of Christ upon their brows.  Indeed, all humanity leaves this earth returning to the One who has created them in His image and likeness.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nicely written

chris j