The following is a little of what I shared this Sunday at Mass.
Human history traces its beginnings to Faith and the understanding that God created all things. The crowning of his creative action was making humanity in His image and likeness. It doing so He gave us not only life but the right to be a child of God. He gave us responsibilities as stewards of His creation that were wrapped in freedom, and he invited us to walk with Him in perfect happiness in the cool of the evening. We know that this reality collided with a temptation to be life itself, to be free of all responsibility and to make our own happiness. That blip in our course knocked us off track, and from that moment on we have been on a parallel track, a similar course that at times has touched the divine direction and at times taken a divergent direction. At a moment in time, the course correction necessary was given us by Jesus. A momentous event that changed history and our story. And yet, we have not always "bought it". Thus we struggle, stumble and fall, and despite our best of intentions and desires, go our own way.
237 years ago this Thursday our Founding Fathers took a bold step and declared independence from the tyranny of the old country. They stated in clear words that "all men are created equal" and that all are endowed by their Creator with certain undeniable rights like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The freedom that they sought was the same freedom desired by their ancestors who came to this land which they saw as a promised land flowing with milk and honey and given them by God.
150 years ago this week, a great battle was fought in Gettysburg in our great civil war. Questions of the value of human existence among all peoples were fought over, freedom to be independent of even central government were issues, and those things that make me happy were paramount in defining who I am.
Another example of those two tracks, those two ways of approaching things, surfaced again this week. The Supreme Court decisions regarding marriage left me sad. It seems to be another of those intrusions into the realm of what God has revealed and set in motion for the good of humanity that is being "changed" and "stripped away". But maybe what becomes clear are the two tracks: I have no problem with equal rights under the law for those whose lives are lived in committed relationships, even if those relationships do not reflect the ideal that is set before us by God. Very few of us are saints, yet. But to redefine marriage, or when life begins, or who deserves dignity or respect, is not something within the purview of any court or government body or leader or dictator. Some have tried, most have already failed.
What sets apart the direction given to us by God is another key element that Saint Paul spoke of in his letter to the Galatians today - true freedom, eternal life, unbelievable happiness is rooted in love ... God's unselfish love, not selfish or self centered love. For God is love, and we who abide in love abide in God, and God in us.
So if we find ourselves lost or unsure of what direction to take, be assured that we can look to the Lord - and not to SCOTUS or POTUS or even US (ourselves). We all fall short on Truth. He does not.
Again, celebrate your Independence Day by acknowledging your dependence upon the Lord and each other, and pray for this nation, even as it finds itself veering off track, for she is truly blessed by God and worthy of our prayer.