Is God in the fire? Archbishop Gomez speaks about the Thomas Fire
While fires in southern California continue to threaten thousands of homes, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles reflected that God can be found even amidst the violent flames, if we just listen for his message.
The Thomas Fire has become one of California's largest fires in history.
Los Angeles, Calif. (CNA/EWTN News) - "Always it is the same question: Where is God to be found when natural disasters strike and bad things happen to good people?" he said in a Dec. 12 column, published at Angelus News, the archdiocese's multimedia publication.
"God is speaking in every moment, in every circumstance. But sometimes he speaks in a whisper. He asks us to listen, to have ears to hear."
The fire has destroyed more than 237,000 acres and more than 1,000 structures. More than 95,000 residents have been evacuated. The fire was only 25 percent contained as of Tuesday night and still poses a risk to thousands of structures in the Ventura and Santa Barbara County regions.
"The stories of loss are heartbreaking -- families and small business owners who have lost everything," said the archbishop.
These disasters often force people to turn to faith and science for answers, he said, noting how the fire has also prompted his own reflection of scripture.
Gomez recalled the story of the prophet Elijah's encounter with God on the holy mountain. The prophet found that "the Lord was not in the fire," but was in a "tiny whispering sound" after the flames went out. To encounter the Lord, he had to listen carefully.
In a similar way, the archbishop said, natural disasters can contain a message about the preciousness of life, which if heard, allows for greater solidarity in the suffering community.
While there can sometimes be a human tendency to separate ourselves from those in pain, he said, disasters break down the barriers of pride and enable opportunities for "extraordinary heroism and ordinary human kindness."
"The Lord is in the fire!" Gomez proclaimed, noting that he has seen the presence of God in the volunteers of organizations like Catholic Charities and the St. Vincent De Paul Society.
"He is there in all these stories of sharing and self-sacrifice, in all those who are opening their homes to strangers, in all those who are risking their lives to save others."
God has asked his people to comfort the vulnerable, he said, and encouraged Christians to be the ones who stand by the afflicted, weep with the sorrowful, and help rebuild the broken.
Turning to the Blessed Mother, he asked her to intercede for California that the community may recognize the whisper of the Lord.
Copyright 2018 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for JANUARY 2018
Religious Minorities in Asia. That Christians, and other religious minorities in Asian countries, may be able to practise their faith in full freedom.
This Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be the first without Sister Mary Antona Ebo, the only black Catholic nun who marched with civil rights ... continue reading
This January, the annual March for Life will take place once again in Washington, DC. On January 15th we commemorate a great Christian ... continue reading
Americans must recommit to the fight against racism through love and faith, said the head of the U.S. bishops' conference in the days ... continue reading
Rain-triggered mudslides have killed 15 people and injured dozens of others in fire-ravaged California. The town of Montecito appears ... continue reading
We are invited on this Feast to live our lives in the Theophany of the God who is a Trinitarian communion of Perfect love. The Christian ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Pope Francis in Chile: the beatitudes are sources of hope!
- Daily Readings for Thursday, January 18, 2018
- North and South Korea agree to march together at Olympics -- is that ...
- President Trump declares 'Religious Freedom Day'
- North and South Korea agree to march together at the Olympics with ...
- Daily Reading for Friday, January 19th, 2018 HD Video
- St. Volusian: Saint of the Day for Thursday, January 18, 2018
- CDC: Swine flu joining killer influenza outbreak, expected to become more severe HD
- Daily Reading for Thursday, January 18th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, January 17th, 2018 HD
- Twitter Ban: Censorship on "a way of talking" -- does that include Christian speech? HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way