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Another Earthquake!

There has been a massive earthquake in Chile.  IT IS 8.8 on the Richter scale with at least 23 aftershocks.  The epicenter of the earthquake is 56 miles northeast of the city of Concepcion.  The death toll is at 85 but we can only image that will rise.  There are building damaged 200 miles away and there is a tsunami wave caused by the quake.  There are tsunami warnings across the Pacific Ocean and the wave is expected to reach Hawaii about 4:15 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time).  You can read all this on www.msnbc.com at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35615455/ns/world_news-americas/.

The president of Chile has declared a “State of Catastrophe.”  The geophysicist mentioned in the MSNBC story says this earthquake released 500 times more energy than the earthquake in Haiti. 

One can ask why does God cause such things?  I remember after the earthquake in Haiti (and after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans) people saying it was God’s wrath punishing the people for their sins.  Could it be?  There are certainly stories of God’s wrath in the Old Testament stories (ex. Noah and the Flood). 

But I don’t see every natural disaster as God’s wrath.  God allows these disasters to happen but that does not mean he causes them.  Could God have created a world where there would be no earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, or any other natural disasters?  Of course, but he didn’t.  I don’t understand why and I don’t expect to know the answer to that in this life time.

But God is present for those people in Chile.  God is always present.  We are called to be God’s hands in these disasters, helping in whatever way we can with the gifts we have been giving.  There will be requests for donations and help coming very soon I am sure.  The people in Chile need to know others care and through the care and love we show may they be reminded of God’s love.

One last note – there are Rochester Sisters of Mercy serving in Chile.  I just received word from one of the sisters here in Elmira that their Rochester office has been in contact with the sisters in Chile.  They are OK but feeling the aftershocks.

Pray for all those in Chile as God’s children.

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

2 Comments

  1. John says:

    “I remember after the earthquake in Haiti (and after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans) people saying it was God’s wrath punishing the people for their sins. Could it be? There are certainly stories of God’s wrath in the Old Testament stories (ex. Noah and the Flood). ”

    It’s one of those things we won’t know until we meet our maker. I remember people jumping on Pat Robertson over his comments about Haiti, however it is possible that he was right. Still, it’s not for one man to make that determination. If we say that a disaster is because of a people’s sinfulness, we are claiming to know the mind of God. If we say that God wouldn’t inflict a disaster as punishment for sin, we once again are attempting to claim knowledge of the mind of God. Thus it would seem that people shouldn’t try to figure out why something happened, but rather be prepared to come to the aid of their fellow man when disaster strikes. I expect the people of the world will once again step up to the plate to assist those in need.

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