Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Wis 1:13-15, 23-24/ 2Cor 8:7, 9, 13-15/ Mk 5:21-43
As we prepare to celebrate the birthday of our nation on July 4th, it is fitting to reflect on the brave men and women who laid the foundation for the United States of America, a country built on freedom under God. When I was young I read every biography I could on those who sacrificed for this dream--legends such as Nathan Hale, Deborah Samson, John and Abigail Adams, Betsy Ross, Patrick Henry, Paul Revere, George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and so many others.
I also loved to study the lives of those who fought for dream that all are created equal--working to give dignity to each and every person who called this country home. Susan B. Anthony, Jane Addams, Lucretia Mott, Alice Hamilton, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Abraham Lincoln, Helen Keller, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and oh, so many others. I was inspired by their lives--their struggles of growing up in turbulent times--yet somehow a spark was lit in them propelling them into action as a voice for those who could not speak. Our country has a long line of heroes who took a stand and boldly worked to better the world.
Our Church also celebrates such heroes--we call them saints. These reformers and brave souls throughout time, standing up amid times of great turmoil, as a voice for truth. Saints such as Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Edith Stein, Maximilian Kolbe, Francis of Assisi, Catherine of Siena, and so many more. Many suffered the death of a martyr for being beacons of light in times of darkness.
What is the difference between those who stand in the shadows and those who boldly step forth and act? For those with faith, it is the assurance that Christ is always with them--for we know we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. The Gospel illustrates such faith--both in the hemorrhaging woman and in Jarius. It also illustrates the compassion of Christ towards those who are often considered society's outcasts.
It is a lesson for us to reflect on as we approach the Fourth of July. The Declaration of Independence reminds us that:
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
As a society it may seem that we have lost our way. Abortion, loss of family values, domestic violence, pornography, poverty, violence, substance abuse, representatives who are more interested in special interest groups than their constituents, and other ills of our day are indicators that somehow, we have lost vision of a land where Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--or blessedness--is key.
As citizens, it is our responsibility to uphold the virtues and vision of the framers of nation. We cannot be silent as our rights are being eroded and our values are being thrashed. The Declaration also notes:
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,--that whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Our nation is a beacon of hope to others throughout the world. We have opened our arms to tired, weary, and poor throughout our history. Many of our ancestors came from such circumstances desiring to start a new life, who through the sweat of their brow and creative imaginations continue to build on the dream of our forefathers.
In honor of those who have gone before us, who fought valiantly to build and sustain our great nation, let us fly our flags and offer prayers of thanks. Let us also pray the leaders of our country and all her citizens remember we were founded as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all--and continue to work to see that this dream is secured for generations to come.