Nine years have passed since the morning that none of us will forget: four airplanes, 19 hijackers (15 Saudis, 1 Lebanese, 2 from the United Arab Emirates, 1 Egyptian), 2,977 dead from the attacks, 6,807 coalition troops killed in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and by most estimates, at least 100,000 civilian casualties in Iraq alone; And somewhere at its inception it was an idea in the head of one man, one angry idea.
The human mind is one of God's greatest creations. God has shared with us the power to conceive ideas, and to turn those ideas into actions. What we lack is the ability foresee all the consequences of those actions. How much destruction can be the fruit of an single angry thought?
In today's gospel we hear, "A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil." The challenge is that no adult alive today has a heart whose stores are pure good or pure evil. We all live in the middle. As people of faith we are called to constantly clean out the stores in our heart, purging them of hatred, anger, malice, fear, all that is evil-- a call to constant purification. As the confiteor says, we begin with our thoughts, then our words, then what we have done and what have failed to do.
The other metaphor Jesus uses in today's gospel, construction, shows us the key to that purification is a good foundation. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built. As Christians, Christ must remain the rock, the foundation at the center of our hearts, from which flows love of God, love of neighbor, and even love of enemy. As St. John tells us, "perfect love drives out fear."
As we mark this ninth anniversary, let us pray the words of the traditional hymn, "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."