Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

5/22/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

America rose to the moment, as she always does in such disasters. She found her soul

In the Wake of one of the deadliest tornados in U.S. history which resulted in the death of at least 24 people, including 9 children, our Nation is confronted with existential questions. We always seem to be able to reach deep down into that aspect of the American character when we face tragedy. That ability reveals the silver lining in that horrid funnel cloud which swept through Oklahoma City and its suburbs. We found our obligation in solidarity to and with one another and we responded in goodness. We can learn from this and begin to live differently after the storm.

After the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma

After the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/22/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Moore, Oklahoma, tornado, Oklahoma City, First Responders, natural disaster, soul of America, Deacon Keith Fournier


MOORE, OK (Catholic Online) - In the Wake of one of the deadliest tornados in U.S. history which resulted in the death of at least 24 people, including 9 children, our Nation is confronted with existential questions. How we respond to them can help us to pave a better future after the storm.

We are vulnerable. We are fragile. But, we are also filled with a capacity for goodness and compassion. We always seem to be able to reach deep down into that aspect of the American character when we face tragedy.

That ability reveals the silver lining in that horrid funnel cloud which swept through Oklahoma City and its suburbs. As a nation, we found our obligation in solidarity to and with one another and we responded in goodness. Can we learn from this and begin to live differently after the storm?

The stories of the first responders fill the media, reminding us of what heroism looks like in the flesh. The courage of those teachers who covered their children, forming a protective shield of love, beckons us to live our own lives differently.

The compassion of civil leaders, including President Obama, reminds us of the proper role of civil government. After declaring the ravaged area a disaster area, he comforted a grieving Nation:

"In an instant, neighborhoods were destroyed, dozens of people lost their lives, many more were injured, and among the victims were young children trying to take shelter in the safest place they knew, their school. So our prayers are with the people of Oklahoma today."

The Speaker of the US House of Representatives, John Boehner, issued an order that flags at the Nation's Capitol fly at half-staff. Elected officials from both major political parties spoke in unison the words which we needed to hear and did their jobs.

Religious leaders revealed the heart of the God whom they represent, reminding us of the meaning of the word compassion. It is from the Greek, to suffer with. Pope Francis tweeted "I am close to the families of all who died in the Oklahoma tornado, especially those who lost young children. Join me in praying for them."

In addition to the large charities such as the Red Cross, charitable and philanthropic responses poured forth from every corner of the United States. Radio hosts, whose views span the political spectrum, stopped their debates to stand in solidarity with one another and for those in need.

The University of Oklahoma and faith based outreaches pulled together in the area affected, offering housing, food and shelter. People used the social media to help family members recover the photos of their loved ones which had been swept up in the tumultuous winds.

America rose to the moment, as she always does in such disasters. She found her soul.

I was reminded of those words of Jesus contained in the Gospel (Matt. 25: 31-46): "I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me; I was naked and you gave me clothing; I was sick and you took care of me; I was in prison, and you visited me."

How well I can understand the question posed by his stunned disciples, "Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs." (Matthew 25.35-36) They could not figure out what the Lord was saying.

But, have you ever considered the significance of the fact that the same Jesus who promised to be with us always also told us that the poor would be with us always? That is because the two are connected.

Indeed, in a sense, they are one and the same - in a way that is revealed with the eyes of living faith. "The poor you will always have with you; but you will not always have me" (Jesus, Matthew 26:11) "And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." (Jesus, Matthew 28:20)

The face of Jesus is found in the face of the poor, in all of their manifestations. The word of Jesus is spoken through the poor, for those who cultivate the ears to hear Him. The cry of Jesus is heard in the cry of the poor, at least for those who stop to listen.

That is the deeper meaning behind the sobering scene recounting the last judgment recorded by the Evangelist Matthew in the 25th Chapter of his Gospel:

"Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'"

This scene follows the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25: 1- 28) where another sort of judgment is recorded. This one is a judgment concerning the contrasting way of life lived between two groups of people, those who believe that what they have is their own and those who understand that all that they have has been given - as a gift.

These two groups approach their relationship with the goods of this earth (which are all good because the Lord has made them) quite differently. The ones who were praised by the Master know the relationship they have with the Giver. They also know their obligations to bear fruit by living the call to love in deed and truth, the call to solidarity and stewardship, inherent in receiving those gifts.

These folks live their lives in gratitude. They look for ways to participate in the ongoing mission of the Lord. They know that He works now, through them. They understand what they truly have and invest it by giving it away to others.

Sadly, those who grasp onto the goods of this earth, thinking that they are their own and bury them, experience the barrenness of self centeredness and the hollowness of the empty pursuit of 'stuff'.

The point of this passage is as profound as the judgment scene. It participates in the same mystery. They both address matters of the heart and reveal what can be called the economy of heavenly scale. ""To anyone who has, more will be given, and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away." (Matthew 25:29)

Those who love the poor - like Jesus loved the poor- are an instruction manual for the rest of us. They are a sign of the kingdom, making it present in their wake. In the Wake of the Moore Tornado, it is time to learn from the Solidarity and Goodness of America and choose to live differently after the storm.  Why does it take a dsiaster to wake us up?

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More U.S.

Obama declares all out war on Republicans over immigration reform Watch

Image of President Obama is expected to give a speech on November 20, outlining his plans to execute immigration reform via executive action.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Even after warnings from sitting and incoming House and Senate Republicans that unilateral action on immigration reform from President Barack Obama would not be tolerated, the president has gone ahead and outlined a plan to relax the rules and regulations of U.S. ... continue reading


The Marriage Meme of Francis: What Did the Pope Just Say about Marriage and Family? Watch

Image of Pope Francis presiding at a marriage Liturgy at St Peters.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Pope Francis embraces the unchangeable truth about marriage as solely between one man and one woman, intended for life, open to life and formative of family as the sole Meme - using the word properly.  That is why you will not read much about the crystal ... continue reading


Another black eye for Democrats: Obamacare architect makes off with $6 million in taxpayer money Watch

Image of New videos released in November show that the architect behind the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, holds nothing but contempt for the American people.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The architect of the fiasco that has been the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Jonathan Gruber, was paid about $6 million in taxpayer money between 2009 and 2014. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This is about 24 times what an average, full-time American worker would ... continue reading


See the list of MOST FREE countries in the world, the results will surprise you! Watch

Image of Land of the Free no more, Americans report a significant decline in personal freedom under the Obama administration.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

America is supposed to be the land of the free, so Americans themselves might be surprised to see that the United States actually ranks fairly low on the index of personal freedom when compared to other nations. Instead of occupying the number 1 spot, the USA has ... continue reading


America's foremost monster and madman Charles Manson intends to wed 26-year-old girl Watch

Image of A rare, recent prison photo of Charles Manson without his beard. The swastika on his forehead remains.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

His name alone strikes a chord even today, years after his murderous activities with his "family." Charles Manson's name is synonymous with madness and mayhem. The 80-year-old murderer now intends to marry a 26-year-old girl with a freshly obtained marriage ... continue reading


LOCKED AND LOADED - National Guard called to Ferguson as Missouri governor reacts to broadening crisis Watch

Image of The grand jury has been meeting for about three months to consider evidence on the shooting of 18-year-old Brown by Officer Darren Wilson on August 9.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

National Guard called to Ferguson as Missouri governor reacts to broadening crisisPolice will reportedly 'maintain peace and protect those exercising their right to free speech'Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)A state of emergency has been declared in the state of ... continue reading


What does this say about America? New study finds that child homelessness epidemic has reached a historic high Watch

Image of A new study has shown that 2.5 million children in the U.S. were homeless in 2013.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After a surge in recent years, a record number of children in the United States are homeless, and could be as high as one out of every 30, a recent report has revealed. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The report, titled "America's Youngest Outcasts," was ... continue reading


Why is Obama allowing foreign-designated terrorist groups to operate within the United States? Watch

Image of Protesters burn an American flag. The nation has many enemies, both within and without.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two "moderate," mainstream Islamic groups in the United States feel as though they've been tarred and feathered with the same brush. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which describes itself as "America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy ... continue reading


President Obama honors second man to die of Ebola in U.S. Watch

Image of Martin Salia, a Sierra Leone born surgeon is the second man to die of Ebola in the United States. Salia received a

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Another doctor has died from Ebola, marking the second person to die of the disease in the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Martin Salia, a Sierra Leone native whose family lived in Maryland, was flown to Nebraska Medical Center where he was placed in ... continue reading


Coming to the USA! Pope Francis announces 2015 trip to Philadelphia Watch

Image of Pope Francis will visit the U.S. in 2015, where he will the fourth sitting Pontiff to visit America.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will be making his first trip to the United States in September of 2015. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pope is going to visit Philadelphia for the World Meeting of the Families, a Catholic public event which ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 10:8-11
8 Then I heard the voice I had heard from heaven ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131
14 In the way of your instructions lies my joy, a joy ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 19:45-48
45 Then he went into the Temple and began driving out ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 21st, 2014 Image

St. Gelasius
November 21: St. Gelasius I, Pope (Feast day - November 21) Gelasius was born ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter