Where is God in Disasters

God’s Wisdom in Current Events

Where is God in DisastersIn the wake of Labor Day (the “unofficial” end of summer), Hurricane Harvey, nuclear scares from North Korea and the onset of Hurricane Irma, we have much to reflect on. In addition to these thought provoking events and issues, we are starting another year of faith formation for so many of our ministries. So let’s take these issues and events one by one.

As you may have noticed, I am very passionate about work. I believe that God calls each of us to do the most meaningful work possible to make the world a better place. One of the many reasons that I feel formed by the Second Vatican Council is in the document on the Church, Gaudium Et Spes, which calls all of us to transform the world. We as church are called to make the world a better place, and I firmly believe that we can all do that each day by working as hard as we can to enrich the world. This is our shared vocation and it begins with our Baptism and is shaped by our journey of faith, a journey that lasts a lifetime. It is my continual hope that through inspiring liturgies, preaching, scripture reflection, adult formation programs and more, we here at Holy Family will continue to inspire all to reflect on the dignity of their work and to see it as an extension of God’s work.

Labor Day signals the unofficial end of summer. Many schools resumed this past Tuesday, but many, like Holy Family Catholic Academy, started much earlier. We undoubtedly will experience continued warm weather, but many families are beginning the more structured schedule of school that ushers in a new season. May it be a season filled with learning more about the love God has for us.

The recovery and clean up from Harvey continues. We also continue to see and hear stories of heroic neighbors helping neighbors, and of unbelievable generosity extended to people directly affected by this catastrophe. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a great disaster to bring out the generous human spirit. It is a display of community in times of great need that God calls us to every day.  How do we tap into the generous human spirit in the absence of disasters?

Our world is watching as North Korea seems to be testing not only nuclear and hydrogen bombs but the patience of much of the world. How can we resolve our differences peacefully, like so much of scripture calls us to? How do we learn from the many scripture stories about warring people?  What is God’s wisdom in this?

As of this writing, Florida, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Haiti and other nearby islands were bracing for the category 5 hurricane called Irma.  With so much of the devastation of Harvey fresh in our thoughts, it seems particularly cruel that we get hit with another major storm. The power of God’s creation often extends past what we can fathom.  Let us continue to pray for the power of the human community and the generosity and support that comes from community in times of need.

One of the great gifts of Jesuit spirituality is a simple question in the midst of any significant life issue. The question is, “What is God saying to us in these events?”

No matter the level of catastrophe or elation in the experiences of life, we can always learn something.  Houston’s Mayor, Sylvester Turner, recently invited all who were watching an interview with him to “visit Houston in a year and you will see a better city than before Harvey.” This type of attitude drives the most important pattern of events in our faith, namely the Paschal Mystery.  We believe that through suffering comes new life. Mayor Turner and so much of Houston are concrete examples of the Paschal Mystery in our midst. Let’s pray for those affected by Harvey, that they will eventually realize new life.

In the bedroom of the house of one of my friends where I stayed recently there was a sign that read, ”Sometimes you Win, Sometimes you Learn.” As we ask what God is saying to us in the many and varied events of our lives, we can ALWAYS learn.

This week’s scriptures remind us of the foundation of God’s love. In Romans we hear that love fulfills the Law. If we approach even the greatest challenge with love, we will fulfill the law of the Commandments and our Christian mission.

In Matthew we hear, “Wherever two or more are gathered, there am I in their midst.” Let us recognize the presence of Christ in our community, even in the most challenging of times.

RCIA, or the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, begins next Sunday with an overview session at 10:00am in the rectory. Please consider extending a personal invitation to anyone in your life who may be interested in at least learning more about becoming Catholic. You may also forward their name to Bonnie Rooney at bonroon@aol.com or 847-977-4715.

Next weekend we celebrate Catechetical Sunday.  This is a special weekend during which we acknowledge the importance of ALL of our catechists, and the first catechists in any child’s life—parents.  Thanks to all of our teachers and catechists, and we still need more in Family Faith. Call Peg Hanrahan at 847-907-3431 to express your interest in becoming a catechist, or encourage someone else to.