Hurricane: “We confront natural disasters with acts of God”

I love this story from the Jewish Tradition—
an old Hassidic tale

A rabbi asked his students,
“When is it dawn—
when does the night end and the day begin—
when can one tell the light from the darkness?”

One of the rabbi’s students replied,
“When from a distance—
I can tell the difference between
a goat and a donkey—
that is when the night ends and the day begins.”

“No,” answered the rabbi.

Another student said,
“The night ends and the day begins when
from a distance—
I can the tell the difference between a
palm tree from a fig tree.”

“No,” the rabbi answer.

“Well, what’s the answer?”
his students pressed him.

“Only when you look into the face of
every man and every woman and
see that they are your
brother and your sister,” said the rabbi—

“Only then—only then
have you seen the light.
All else is still darkness.”

This is truth—
This is truth!!!

Who can watch or read the news and
not feel for the Hurricane Harvey victims
in Texas and Louisiana.

Oh, my goodness,
what devastation—
what suffering—
they ARE our brothers and our sisters!!!

“Only when you look into the face of
every man and every woman and
see that they are your
brother and your sister,” said the rabbi.

“Only then have you seen the light.
All else is still darkness.”

And not only are they our brothers and sisters—
they are also—Jesus.

We know it—
We know what Our Lord says:
when we care of the least among us—
we are taking care of Jesus Himself.

And wow!!!
Haven’t people really stepped up—
Taking care of their brothers and sisters—
Taking care of Jesus.

In the midst of darkness there is light!!!
It’s been so inspiring to see.

One of my favorite stories is
about a woman who went into labor as
the waters were rising.

The hospital was 2 miles away—
the waters too deep for them to
drive to the hospital—
so they started to prepare for a home birth

“When I saw all the flooding,,” Annie said,
I turned to my husband and said,
“I’m really starting to get scared now”

“It kind of dawned on me that
this is it — I’m in actual labor.”

A neighbor who went to check on
the Smiths that morning sent an
email to their apartment complex
message page asking for help.

Within 30 minutes,
at least 15 people were in their apartment and
ready to help with the delivery—
including an OB-GYN intern.

People dug through their supplies and
brought sutures and scalpels and
anything that might be needed.

The couple had been continuously
dialing 911 and the Texas National Guard’s
emergency number since 8 that morning—
but they never got an answer—
the system was overwhelmed.

Finally, someone who heard of their plight
assembled a rescue team.

A large flat-bed truck—
Big enough to drive through the water—
pulled up as close as they could to the complex.

Annie’s husband said,
“Holy cow, I think someone is here for us.”

The water by that point was so high
that the Smiths’ neighbors and
firefighters formed a human chain to
help Annie to the back of the flatbed truck.

Passing the pregnant mother—
From person to person—
From one set of arms to another.
Onto the flatbed truck—
And then on to the hospital.

Both mother and baby are doing well.

Only when you look into the face of
every man and every woman and
see that they are your
brother and your sister,” said the rabbi.

“Only then have you seen the light.
All else is still darkness.”

Here’s another story,
one that can make all of us Kentuckians proud.

John McGinnis is from Grayson County.

He saw the flood waters rise
in Houston at his home watching TV.

“[That night] I laid down and I tried to sleep”
McGinnis said,
who described himself as an “evangelist.”

[But] I had a burden on my heart,
and I felt like God was telling me to come help.”

Not only is McGinnis a self-described evangelist—
he’s also a professional fisherman—
so he owns a bass boat.

McGinnis competes in
the Fishing League Worldwide—
so he knows a few things about
boating and getting around on bodies of water.

So, he gets up—
drives for 18 hours—
bass boat in tow—
all the way to Houston.

He meets a stranger along the way—
Danny Engle.

So McGinnis—the evangelist and professional fisherman—
and his bass boat—
and Danny Engle—
down in Houston—
fishing for people—
Fishing for people who need help—
Fishing for stranded families.

McGinnis said:
“We just come from a time in Kentucky
when people used to love people and
use things—
but it seems like the world’s graduated
to using people and loving things.”

Not bad from a fisherman from Kentucky.

“We just come from a time in Kentucky
when people used to love people and
use things—
but it seems like the world’s graduated
to using people and loving things.”

Our Lord says that when we love
The stranger—
we are loving Jesus Himself.

When you see all of these stories—
all of the people who are
sacrificing themselves for others
in Texas and in Louisiana—
and see joyful they are—
the truth of the Christian message
becomes clear.

Jesus gives us the template on how to be human.

It’s sacrificing for others—
It’s loving others—
Especially the stranger—
Even our enemies—
That’s what gives fulfillment in life.

After sacrifice—
After the Cross—
Then Comes the resurrection—
Then Comes the fullness of life.
Then comes joy.

Peter didn’t get that yet in today’s Gospel—
Peter didn’t get that the Son of Man must suffer—
That the Son of Man must give of himself for others.

Peter didn’t yet understand that it’s only
after the Cross—
after sacrifice that fullness of life comes.

And by not understanding the
message of Jesus in its fullness—
Jesus tells Peter,
“Get behind me Satan—
You are an obstacle to me.”

Cross, then resurrection—
Sacrifice for others—then fullness of life.
The message of Jesus.

Jesus is our template for being human.

I saw this great ad in a national newspaper:
It’s from the Salvation Army:

We combat natural disasters
With acts of God

And so will we.

We’ll be having a special collection that
will go directly from the Diocese to
the Catholic Relief Services in the Houston area—
To aid those who need it.

Also, you see in the bulletin how we can give electronically.

I want to end with a quote from Fr. Henri Nouwen:

“A true disciple of Jesus will always go
where people are feeling weak,
broken, sick, in pain, poor, lonely,
forgotten, anxious, and lost.” (Nouwen, Spiritual Formation, xxviii)

We combat natural disasters
With acts of God
Holy Spirit 09/02-03/2017

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