|6/29/2016 9:19:00 AM|
Let peace control your hearts
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
|Mary Jo Tully|
Chancellor, Archdiocese of Portland
Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
For most of us, the Fourth of July weekend is a celebration of all that is good about America. It is a time to recall our freedom and our tolerance, a time to remember our diversity and our acceptance. It’s picnic time and vacation time. It’s summertime!
This year, though, a pall hangs over our celebration. A cloud obscures our joy. We are in mourning. We look about the world and we are troubled. We mourn the loss of those who gathered to be who they are — to dance and to sing, to be with others, to pray. Those who gathered at the Pulse nightclub were viciously murdered because they were who they were. Those who prayed together in a Charleston church were slain because they were who they were.
Independence Day has been a celebration of what it means to be American. At one time that was an easy thing to define. At one time, we could be sure that the sight of the American flag would fill everyone with feelings of patriotism, loyalty and pride. Today, we can be equally sure that this is not so.
This is picnic time in the United States, a time to “lay back” and rest, a time to think about vacation. The Scriptures for today are particularly meaningful. They are filled with joy. “Rejoice,” Isaiah tells us. “Let no one trouble you,” says Paul. The Gospel draws us to that place where peace rests on us and we know the kingdom of God is at hand.
But our world is not filled with peace and tolerance. We look for someone to blame. There is a deliberate effort to exonerate oneself. There is an effort to disassociate self from what is painful. Only our manner of doing it differs from one to another.
Disassociation can come from involvement in the conflict itself or through failure to become involved.
Each American tries to cope with his or her own feelings of guilt for the tragedies and from unhappiness. Why bother? Because instinctively each of us feels a love for this country that has been — in so many ways — our land of opportunity.
Every relationship is rooted in the joy we are meant to share. At Eucharist, we pledge ourselves to one another and this promise is lived outside the celebration of liturgy. It is lived in a particular country. It is lived in a particular neighborhood, in a particular family. Not to achieve joy in these places is to miss it in the context of the Church.
Our celebration is a pledge to unite men and women. It is a pledge to acknowledge our unity in the Risen Lord even at a time when our disunity is manifest whenever we read the daily newspaper or tune in the evening news. We are confronted again and again with the challenge to live what we proclaim. We need to be happy and to let our happiness show.
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