Today we celebrate the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. This weekend’s readings invite us to join Jesus in living his profound love for all creation — caring for the Earth, accompanying the sick, reaching out to the broken with a generosity that matches his own. Summer invites us to relax and renew, we ask for the grace to let the word permeate and guide us, refreshing and energizing our intentions to practice the generous justice of the Lord.
We welcome LaSalette Father Sebastian Flory to Saint Monica this weekend, for the annual Missionary Plan of Cooperation Appeal. The LaSalette Fathers and Brothers have Missionaries in 27 countries throughout the world. There were envelopes in last week’s bulletin and there are
some at the Church entrances. If you just want to put in a blank envelope with “Missionary Coop” on the envelope or on the memo line of the check that would be fine, too. Thank you in advance for your generosity.
Next Sunday, July 8, will be the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Next weekend’s read- ings will invite us to reflect on our own ability to recognize the Lord Jesus and God’s prophets in our midst. The voice of the prophet may come to us in words of a friend, a member of the faith community or even by someone that we may not particularly like. If we don’t like what we hear, chances are we need to listen and seek the Spirit’s presence in our resistance. We remember that God’s message is often mitigated in human experience, and fear should not stop us from paying attention to the Spirit’s whispers and nudges. (Having just celebrated the Birth of Saint John the Baptist on June 24th, this is an appropriate “follow up.”)
July 4: We will celebrate the 242nd Anniversary of our Declaration of Independence from England on Wednesday of this week. There will be one morning Mass at 9:00 A.M. I hope that many of you will be able to attend and pray together in thanksgiving for the freedoms that we do have. How often have we read the Declaration of Independence? I’m sure that most of us had to “memorize” the beginning of it, “When in the course of human events …”, when we were in grade school, and most of us, for those of us who have read it at all, saw all the list of things that the Continental Congress was upset about with King George and the “intolerable acts” passed by Parliament in England, and enforced on the colonies. But when we really look at the entire document have you noticed how much God is invoked, even though Thomas Jefferson was (at best) a “Deist,” i.e. he believed in “God,” but no particular type of God. (If you ever read the “Jefferson Bible,” you would note that all of the nice things that Jesus taught about loving one another, the passage from Matthew 25, the Golden Rule, etc., are included, but all the miracles are taken out. In fact the little book begins with: “The Jefferson Bible: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth. Extracted From The Four Gospels. Originally Compiled by Thomas Jefferson.”) However, Thomas Jefferson (with help from John Adams and Benjamin Franklin) wrote about God several times in the Declaration of Independence:
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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.
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 to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying it’s founda- tion on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been
the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. Then Jefferson lists all of these facts. (You can look them up!)
The concluding sentences are again relying upon God for the success of the endeavor, Freedom from England: We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
Many of the fifty-six men who signed the Declaration of Independence suffered greatly during the Revolutionary War. Five signers were captured by the British and brutally tortured as traitors. Nine fought in the War for Independence and died from wounds or from hardships they suffered. Two lost their sons in the Continental Army. Another two had sons captured. At least a dozen of the fifty-six had their homes pillaged and burned. Only one Catholic signed it, Charles Carroll “of Carrollton,” Maryland, a cousin of the future first bishop of the United States, John Carroll.
I put this history lesson in the bulletin this week to ask you to reflect on what the cost of freedom really is. May we celebrate our freedoms and thank God for these courageous men!
Have a great Fourth of July Holiday. Since Father Sebastian is here this week, I’m taking a week away in Washington, DC. I return on July 6th. God’s blessings to you and yours!
Fr Joe Weber