Changing Hearts

Sept. 18-24, 2003
Changing Hearts
By Eileen Jevis/ SUN staff writer
Mass on Sept. 11 finds lessons learned from the tragedy

Like that fateful day two years ago, Syracusans along with many Americans came together again on Sept. 11. They came together to support, remember and reflect. Like the flags that hang on buildings, outside homes, in car windows or in cemeteries across the nation, the nation is unraveled but not torn. The hatred and violence crushed many but did not break them. Instead, the tragedy unified the nation; connecting everyone through injury, pain and pride. Father Joseph Champlin, rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception talked about that connectedness at the remembrance Mass celebrated at the Cathedral on the second anniversary of the tragedy. After the opening hymn, “Let there be Peace on Earth,” Father Champlin said, “Let us learn, ponder and remember.” The Scripture readings for the day were an example of “divine providence,” said Father Champlin. The first reading, from St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians, talked about forgiveness. “Bear with one another; forgive whatever grievances you have against one another. Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you.” (Col. 3:13) The theme of the Gospel reading was of love for one’s enemy. “Do to others what you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. Be compassionate, as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Pardon and you shall be pardoned.” (Luke 3:12-17)

As he addressed the somber congregation, Father Champlin said in addition to the lessons from Scripture, Americans have learned three valuable lessons as a result of the Sept. 11 tragedy. The first lesson, and one that is foremost in the minds of all Christians, is “How did God fit into this picture?” Father Champlin explained that this disaster was not part of God’s plan. But if He had stopped it, He would have deprived human beings of the greatest gift –– freedom. “God was there to bring good out of bad,” said Father Champlin. The second lesson is the question, “What good came out of this?” “Americans stopped to reconnect with each other,” said Father Champlin. “There were persons on the top floors of those buildings and on airplanes who got on their cell phones and called family and friends to say, ‘I love you,’” he said. “And Americans throughout the country did the same thing. They reconnected with loved ones. This event caused people to reprioritize their lives and stimulated people to reach out and help others,” said Father Champlin. “That is the good that come out of this.”

The third lesson, Father Champlin said, is “Is it possible to have peace in our world?” Father Champlin referred to the scriptural text in which the Lord said, “Do not be afraid. Turn to me in prayer and I will answer.” “Through prayer we can change the hearts of the world. Let us pray for soft and freed hearts. Through prayer, we can change the hearts of the terrorists,” said Father Champlin. “Christians, Muslims and Jews all have something in common. We have the same beliefs in the power of prayer, the power of the Scriptures and our love of Jerusalem. Those same beliefs will unite us in peace.”
September 11

So many lives were changed that day A tragedy we could not foresee When planes crashed through twin towers Chaos reigned from sea to shining sea America saw terror Right here upon our soil But Americans came together to quell this great turmoil As we put our country back together We joined forces and joined hands And formed a bond so deeply Here throughout our land Our leaders gave us courage Our forces gave support And soon the news turned brighter With some positive reports America will stand united There’s nothing we will not do To uphold our right for freedom For the red the white and blue So as we stand together side by side And commemorate this day We keep a light within our hearts Where it will always stay For all who fought for freedom Who lost their lives that day We’re proud of all Americans across the USA — Elizabeth Forgays Media Center/Librarian at St. Margaret’s

Be the first to comment on "Changing Hearts"

Leave a comment