A Shepherd's Message - Sept. 12, 2017

September 12, 2017

“Save me, God, for the waters have reached my neck. I have sunk into the mire of the deep, where there is no foothold.” (Psalm 69:1-3)

The cry of the psalmist speaks to the danger and distress of recent days along the Texas coast, which have tested the faith of all of God’s children. Hurricane Harvey hit southeast Texas with great impact. The storm’s rain unleashed unprecedented floods which have affected countless families and homes throughout our Archdiocese.

Is God asleep and not responding when we need Him the most? Yet at the cry of His disciples when the storm tosses them at sea, Jesus awakes in the boat and calms the waters. He hears the prayers of His faithful. Even creation obeys Him (Mt 8:24-27). When it seems that we are on the verge of perishing, we must wake up the Lord in our united prayers for personal need and for all of our brothers and sisters who are suffering.

Yet, the Lord is awake in us!

Along with the rest of the nation, I have been inspired by the selfless acts of heroism from first responders and volunteers, including many who traveled from other states to lend a hand during this desperate time of need.

Many of our Catholic parishes are helping in their local communities as their situations and resources allow, working in conjunction with both local and national relief efforts.

When we survey the loss and devastation, it is natural to wonder how such calamity fits into God’s plan. The problem of suffering is a mystery that is always with us. However, our Christian faith reminds us that the Lord is never distant from us in this but is intimately close.

In His Passion, suffering and death, Jesus unites Himself with suffering humanity and proclaims victory over pain and death in His resurrection. While we often cannot understand the ways of His Providence, we know that God never ceases to work to bring about our ultimate good, despite the tragedy of evil and suffering. God IS mystery; He is not “domesticated.” But the Lord is acting in us and through us. This is verified by the overwhelming response of help and charity from the human family as people of every race, class, religion and way of life have united in assistance for one another in rescue efforts and in humanitarian aid.

While our world hurts and remains divided in so many ways, in the midst of our darkest hour along the Gulf Coast, the people of Texas have shown humanity’s best face as we step up to the challenge set before us. With the grace of our God, we will run the race before us with energy and joy. We will win.

We are in this together. I ask you to pray for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and for all of the communities impacted by this storm. And please join me in prayer for the victims of Hurricane Irma, which is making landfall at the time of this writing.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us! †