On Friday of this coming week, we will remember the tragic events of September 11th nineteen years ago, – that tragic day when our nation was brutally attacked by ruthless terrorists. We recall that day when thousands of innocent people died in New York city, Washington, DC and a field in Pennsylvania. It’s hard to imagine the devastation and pain of all those innocent victims in New York city, at the Pentagon in Washington, DC and in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Whose lives were directly affected and forever changed.

When a tragedy of this magnitude is so close to us, we want to escape it. We do so by: turning off the news, putting aside the newspaper articles, and if we don’t know someone directly involved in it, we conveniently file it somewhere in the back of our memory in the hope of never retrieving it again.

This weekend, we also turn our attention to the ongoing crisis in the Middle East – in Iraq, Syria and the Gaza strip, the mad – man in North Korea and the violence in the major cities of America. In many parts of the world through the persecution of Christians is evidence of the Evil One and his ceaseless activities.

In seeking to find a reason for such tragedies, it’s natural to ask why God permits such tragedies to happen in the first place. What kind of a God allows terrorists to pilot jet aircraft into buildings? What kind of a God delights in the beheadings or crucifixions of innocent Christians who refuse to deny their Faith and become Muslims? What kind of a God permits death, chaos, and devastation through Hurricanes like Laura, a deadly and damaging Category 4 Atlantic hurricane that tore through Texas, Louisiana, Cuba, Arkansas, Puerto Rico, and Florida. What kind of a God permits the pain and suffering of suffering from cancer and heart disease?

The answer lies in the fact that God does not will such events – they are the result of evil – man’s inhumanity to man and the chaos of nature it’s called “Original Sin”.

On this weekend, our readings in the Liturgy present the themes of new beginnings and personal responsibility.

In the first reading, the Prophet Ezekiel is appointed WATCHMAN For the House of Israel. He is to warn the people to remain faithful to the Lord’s commands and to live the life He has called them to live.

In the second reading, Saint Paul continues this theme, reminding us of our responsibility to remain faithful to the teachings and to the commands of Jesus.

Finally, in the Gospel, Jesus reminds His Apostles of their responsibility and commission to instruct and admonish the faithful an all matters of Faith and Morality, and to know that He is with them for all time. Jesus’ call is a call to know ourselves, to know our Faith, and to know our origins – our roots in the Faith – a call to discover and re-discover our Catholic roots and to respond to the teachings of the Church.

Each of the readings today is a call to each one of us to acknowledge our responsibility as a follower of Jesus Christ and a member of His Church.

One of the serious problems the Church faces today is that many Catholic people (for whatever reason) have lost a sense of responsibility and an awareness of the basics of our Faith. Perhaps we were never taught the Faith. Perhaps we were taught incorrectly. Perhaps we were taught only part of the Faith. Perhaps we have fallen for the lies and deception of a society that has minimalized and perverted many of the basic teachings of our Faith.

Since the time of the Apostles, the Church ha the responsibility to teach and defend the Faith as it has come to us from Jesus Himself to the Apostles, and ultimately to each one of us. We in turn have the responsibility to live the Faith, to continue learning more about the Faith, and to fall more deeply in love with Jesus who is the Faith.

 Jesus gave the Power of the Keys to Peter – the visible head of the Church – the keys to bind, loose, and teach the fullness of the Faith. It is the obligation of the Church to remind us of the teachings of Jesus as those teachings have come to us from Apostolic times and to call us to live that Faith – especially when we begin to falter.

One of the most basic teachings of Jesus was that “we are to love one another” as Jesus has loved us from the Cross. That kind of love does not force people to fit into whatever we think they should be; rather it is the kind of love that affirms and respects others, rejoices in their uniqueness, and gently directs them to live in union with Jesus Christ and His Church.

Many people approached Jesus with their problems – physical, emotional, and spiritual – and Jesus listened. He wanted them to know that He understood their plight, and identified their hurts and their temptations.

In our first reading today, the Prophet Ezekiel was called to be “Watchman for the House of Israel.” Each one of us is called to be “WATCHMAN” for our world and for all those in it.

Saint Paul reminds us that “we owe nothing to anyone except to love and accept one another. Love is the fulfillment of the law.” Sometimes we wonder why our world is so broken by sin – it just didn’t happen to get this way. We made it happen and we can make it change!

As we recall the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11th, the horrible terrorist attacks of ISIS, and the destruction of the hurricanes, we need to be strengthened in our Faith, and we need to remember that in the midst of an immoral and mixed-up world, we can make a difference by truly living our Catholic Faith!