To watch Fr. Joe’s Homily for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
I would guess many people’s thoughts and actions are focused on Thanksgiving, only a few days away and Christmas only 5 weeks away.
But for a moment let’s go back to the 1960’s… nuclear war was on the minds of many people. Fallout shelters were designated in our cities; people spent a great deal of time and energy, (and money) building their own fallout shelters for security and school children were taught about “duck and cover” in case of a nuclear attack.
Such concerns then and even now about the ends times and the fact that, “No one knows the day or hour” might make us fearful, but what we are called to do is to live in and with hope.
Several months ago, I read a Time Magazine piece about a man named Stanislav Petrov who died about a year ago. Many people called him a hero to which he would say, “Nonsense! I was just doing my job.”
His job was on the Soviet early warning system, code named “EYE,” whose function was to detect the launch of a America Nuclear Attack.
Petrov, having helped design and install the command center, was at the controls the night of Sept. 26, 1983, when sirens inside the massive bunker just south of Moscow began to wail. The Systems Satellites were alerting the Russians to the launch of a US Ballistic Missile, followed by 4 others.
Petrov shared in a 2015 interview, “we built the system to rule out the possibility of false alarms.” And on that day, the satellites told us with the highest degree of certainly that these rockets were on the way. It was the job of Petrov to confirm the incoming attack to this superiors, who would then launch a retaliatory strike while the US Missiles were still in the air.
Petrov shared that the chances it was real were 50-50, “but I did not want to be the one responsible for starting World War III.” So he told his commanders that the alarm was false.
Well much later, it emerged that the Soviet Satellites had mistaken the sun’s reflection in clouds for the start of a missile salvo. The “end times” were closer than maybe any of us ever thought.
And Stansilav Petrov could have given in to the moment of destiny with resignation and maybe despair or a moment of promise, a moment of hope.
Hope: the conviction that God is at work in our lives and in our world!
Might we say that God was at work, that September day in 1983? I think so.
We can look around our personal world and the world at large and take a pretty negative approach to rhetoric, to daily events, to people…
But where is the hope that God is at work in our lives, in our world?
Everyday, people of good will, people of faith take the high road… much good is happening around us…
Where’s the good in our life, in the people and events of day to day life? Where is God working in our lives and in the lives of others to work on behalf of His people; all of God’s people?
Hopefully we can continue to open our eyes and hearts to see God at work in others and all around us. And hopefully others will continue to open their eyes and hearts to see God at work in others and in each of us – a Person, Family and Parish….
Maybe, like Stansilav Petrov, we can see living the virtues of faith, hope and love not as something heroic but as just doing our job, as a Disciples of Jesus.