Let’s thank God for the blessings of liberty through our own useful service
Reflections on the readings for Independence Day / Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time (July 4, 2018): AM 5:14-15, 21-24; PS 50:7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 16-17; MT 8:28-34
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
The Fourth of July is always a wonderful occasion to enjoy a summer holiday complete with parades, barbeques, concerts, and, of course, fireworks. We relax and get together with others to have a good time and forget for a little while about daily obligations and anxieties.
But the day itself is a reminder, if we choose to heed it, that we live in a nation founded through struggle, established through law, and still standing through commitment. The first reading for today urges us to “Seek good and not evil, that you may live.… Hate evil and love good” (Amos 5:14-15). These are words for all people and all countries, but they have a special meaning for all who live in the United States of America. From the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution, the Bills of Rights and later Amendments, we have rights and responsibilities. We must seek to do what is good, right and just, not only for ourselves and those we love, not only for those who look like us or think like us, but also for the common welfare of all.
John Carroll, who became the first bishop of the United States in 1790, and whose own brother and cousin were signers of the Declaration, offered this prayer we can still say today: “Let the light of Your Divine Wisdom…shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness…and may perpetuate to us the blessings of equal liberty.” Like all those who signed the Declaration of Independence, we must be willing to put ourselves on the line in order to do something of great value.
Suggested missionary action: Celebrate this Fourth of July by spending time with family, friends and neighbors. But also think about real ways you can build up your community and your country. And be sure to thank God for His blessings on our nation and our world.