From the Associate Pastor’s Desk
On September 11, 2001, Franciscan priest Father Mychal Judge, OFM hastened to the World Trade Center after hearing that a plane had hit one of the towers. Father Mychal was a chaplain to the New York City Fire Department. He went into the tower to minister to firefighters and the injured. Not long after, the first tower collapsed and Father Mychal became the first certified fatality of the 9/11 terrorist attack, the first body to be recovered and taken to the medical examiner.”
Those who knew him remember him as someone who was willing to leave everything behind in order to serve anyone who needed his help. He loved to give blessings to people. He built relationships and became friends with the firefighters to whom he was chaplain.
Father Mychal touched the lives of so many people. At his funeral Mass, more than 3,000 people crowded the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Manhattan. Father Michael Duffy, OFM, his good friend, fittingly stated in his homily that day: “We come to bury Mychal Judge’s body but not his spirit, his voice but not his message, his hands but not his good work, his heart but not his love. Never his love
Following his death, came a revelation that Father Mychal was gay. Some Catholics were unhappy with this. Some tried to paint it as fake news, alleging that it was all an attack against the church. It is as if being gay prevents someone from leading a life of holiness. Nothing can be further from the truth. God calls EVERYONE to holiness. Unfortunately, sometimes we are the ones preventing people to come to God. We can be like the Pharisees in today’s Gospel, complaining when tax-collectors and sinners are welcomed by Jesus. We become a wall that keeps people from experiencing God’s mercy and love.
In order to avoid that, perhaps it would be good for us to repeat this favorite prayer of Father Mychal:
Lord, take me where You want me to go;
Let me meet who You want me to meet;
Tell me what You want me to say;
And keep me out of Your way.
Peace and all good, Fr. Sam Nasada, OF
Associate Pastor, Mission San Luis Rey Parish
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