From the Hermitage
As we celebrate what is perhaps our nation's most unifying holiday, we can use this occasion to recall something that we hear quite often: there is a price for freedom.
In today's gospel reading, stand and look at what is happening at the tax collector's table. Jesus comes to Matthew and invites him to "follow." Today, on a national holiday, we are reminded of our obligation today: come behind the pilgrims, follow in the footsteps of the men and women who labored so hard to fulfill the dreams and works of the founders of our nation; follow the visions of so many men and women who invented, who legislated, who struggled westwards despite terrible travel conditions; follow the daring and the sacrifices of so many fellow Americans to take up arms to defend freedom. Likewise, today, recall the ideologies that became the foundations of such a strong nation: how have we accepted what our forefathers and mothers gave their lives for in bringing about values that we have even today.
Today we should remember our celebration should also be a time of prayer for each and everyone who lives in our land. In many churches today and in many civic events Americans of every color, of every ethnic background will join in singing the words of "America the Beautiful." Listen attentively to those words ... they speak so much to what is critically important to the American people today ... especially to those who wish to damage the dream of the many people seeking to be with us in our nation where we proclaim in another hymn/song, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, truth is marching on.
We must ask ourselves this question: can we sit back and allow truth to be blocked any longer? Can we continue to separate others because of color or ethnicity? Because of religious beliefs and practices? God help us to be the people our founders wanted us to be.
God bless each of us! God bless the United States of America!
Oremus pro invicem.