The United States: A "great country"
1) Eucharistic Adoration, tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. Please join us after your barbecues and before the fireworks!
2) Adoration summer series ’08 begins next Friday, 7 pm. Please spread the word! Here are the topics for the series:
July 11: “The Mass Explained” (Part I)
July 18: “The Mass Explained” (Part II)
July 25: “Why Forgive?”
August 1: “How Do I Pray?”
August 8: “Why Does God Allow Suffering?”
August 15: “Heaven, Hell, & Purgatory” (Part I)
August 22: “Heaven, Hell, & Purgatory” (Part II)
Happy Independence Day!! We celebrated Mass for Independence Day this morning which was very well attended. I began my homily by saying that the United States is a great country. When he visited our land in April, these are the words that Pope Benedict XVI used to describe our nation. I asked how he could say that the U.S. is a “great country” given the fact that we initiated wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to which the Pope is vehemently opposed, have legalized abortion and other life issues that are odds with the Holy Father’s teachings, and actively promoted a secularism that he ardently attacks.
Pope Benedict can say that the United States is a great country because it is a country of freedom. The Holy Father focused on freedom so much in his talks during his visit here because he knows the absolute value of freedom. He recognizes that the United States is a land where freedom can reign: national and communal freedom as well as personal freedom. He extolled our tradition of freedom at many points and in many ways; here is an excerpt from his address at the welcome ceremony at the White House:
“Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility. Americans know this from experience – almost every town in this country has its monuments honoring those who sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom, both at home and abroad. The preservation of freedom calls for the cultivation of virtue, self-discipline, sacrifice for the common good and a sense of responsibility towards the less fortunate. It also demands the courage to engage in civic life and to bring one’s deepest beliefs and values to reasoned public debate.”
Freedom allows us to be the people we truly want to be. Put in a better way, freedom allows us to be the people God intends us to be. This occurs for us as American citizens and as Christians. With moral choices, freedom means choosing the good. Each of us truly desires to choose what is good; none of us desires to choose what is bad. Evil often disguises itself as good and attractive (e.g., pornography). Freedom helps us not only to see good as good and evil as evil, but also to choose the good.
God truly desires us to be free as a nation and as individuals. He has given us the sacraments which are fonts of grace leading us to freedom. In particular, the Eucharist and Confession can help us immensely to be free. Many people began celebrating freedom today by receiving the Eucharist at Mass. Some took advantage of the experience of freedom in Confession after Mass. Some will come to adore the Eucharist and go to Confession tonight in the midst of our nation’s celebration of freedom. Whether it’s in Adoration, Confession, or a simply prayer of thanksgiving, let us all American Catholics at some point today go to the source of our freedom: Jesus Christ.