Sunday July 3, 2016 - 14th Sunday, Year C
TITLE: “Liberty, Purity, Fireworks (Part 1, Independence Day”
● Isaiah 66:10-14c ● Psalm 66 ● Galatians 6:14-18 ● +Luke 10:1-12, 17-20 ●
[_01_] How near – how close in proximity – can we be to the fireworks?
How near can we be to the fireworks of the 4th of July?
It is our USA- American tradition on July 4th – and in the summer – to go to the fireworks, to see the display of fireworks in the sky over New York City (NYC) or West Orange.
Of course, in order to be safe, to be secure, to avoid danger, we also try to stay a safe distance from the fireworks.
At times, I would prefer to be in a location where the fireworks could be seen very well, but not heard.
How near can we be to the fireworks?
[_02_] On July 4th, this month of July, we celebrate U.S. Independence Day and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
This Sunday, in the Gospel, we read about the mission of the 72 disciples.
I would like to make a connection between the Gospel values for these missionaries and all Christians and the values/rights of the 1776 declaration.
[_03_] That is, through our relationship with Christ, in the Gospel, we read that we are all called follow the virtues of purity or chastity, the virtue of poverty or simplicity, and the virtue of obedience or service.
And, in the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson declared the right to life, the right to liberty, and the right to the pursuit of happiness.
In this reflection, I would like to connect PURITY in the Christian sense, with the right to liberty or freedom.
Through Christ, we believe we have our own declarations of independence – from our brokenness, from our sinfulness, from material needs. We do not usually celebrate these with fireworks.
[_04_] When we call to mind the virtue of chastity or purity, we may be inclined to think of prohibitions, of what is prohibited of what is not permitted.
Yes, this virtue calls us to a standard of behavior, of respect for the other, of responsibility for our actions, of responsibility for our vision, for our eyes.
This virtue calls us to view – to see – others with respect, with compassion, with gentleness.
And, to evaluate ourselves – physically, spiritually, visually – with self-respect.
At times, this means a safe distance from what seems to be only entertainment or a diversion. Yes, the fireworks are beautiful too, but we need boundaries, distance
[_05_] The virtue of purity or chastity call us also to be modest, class us to modesty.
All of this invites us to be MODEST. This modesty is our path toward freedom and away from DEPENDENCY on material comfort.
Modesty does not simply mean that I place a moderate – or low value on my ability or achievement, or what I think my achievement may be.
Modesty is a virtue that enables me to connect – honestly, authentically – with another person.
This modesty is our mobility, our declaration of independence from material comfort.
Modesty is a choice I make in speech, in action, in dress, in behavior so that I can guard what is most mysterious and vulnerable in myself and in another person. (CCC Catechism 2521, 2522)
If someone asks us to keep a confidence, a secret, we do this out of modesty. It is tempting to announce what we know – THE FIREWORKS -- or share what we know…but modesty helps us to be a trusted friend and confidante.
Modesty is not about repression or withdrawal. Modesty helps us to be pure and authentic in our disclosure and communication with another.
This virtue of modesty – and purity – helps in our call to follow Pope Francis’ recommendation of compassion, mercy, generosity towards anyone who is marginalized due to his or her gender, sexuality, identity.
Modesty helps us to be pure, helps us to be free, helps us to guard the right to liberty and to live the virtue of freedom in all of our relationships.
[_06_] The virtue of purity – and the endeavor of modesty – helps us to love, to be compassionate, to understand each other and to respect differences.
With this modesty, we also sign our declaration, our declaration and profession of faith that God is the guardian of our lives and of our freedom.
We pray that God will bless us, bless our world, our country, that God will bless America.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us. [_fin_]