Today is an exceptional day in the history of America. Many, many things come to mind in commemorating our independence as a nation that did not exist until 1776. Our history is not as extensive as the history of European and Asian countries, but we have accomplished a lot in a mere 242 years. It is good to be optimistic about where we have come and where we, as a nation, still have to go.
Today’s readings are difficult to unpack. We have God chastising us for thinking He will be satisfied with blood offerings and oaths; demons challenging Jesus to get rid of them; swine herders in Israel telling Jesus to go away. They were more concerned with their livestock than with the lives of the two men Jesus released from the grip of the demons. Wow! What does it all mean?
Well, today’s readings are telling us that God is in charge of all of creation, all of the natural world. The Psalmist writes:
“For mine are all the animals of the forests, beasts by the thousand on my mountains. I know all the birds of the air, and whatever stirs in the plains, belongs to me.”
People of faith know that all of our natural world, including all of humanity, belongs to God, and God alone, although you might not know it living in 21st century America. Many in our country believe they are in charge of everything: their lives, families, work, even their bodies. Are we living as did the swine herders, telling God to leave, to remove Himself from our country so we can take care of everything ourselves? We look to doing things our way, not God’s way. We look to getting everything we want when we want it and how we want it, often not showing concern for how that will affect others. The result is chaos and confusion.
All belongs to God – we belong to God. When we remember this, chaos and confusion disappear, and the path becomes clearer to us for God never leads us astray. Amos tells us to seek good and we may live, so that God will truly be with us and justice will prevail and we can be freed from our own demons.
Love all you meet and care for creation as God’s great gift to you. Work daily, one simple human interaction at a time, to move hearts to an America that rejoices in the freedom of all, based on the simple concept of Love. Love of and from God. Love for ourselves and each other. God’s Law can only bring life. I believe it is not an impossible dream. God will not give up on us!
Stay strong and God bless America.
Jeanne Penoyar, an Accounts Manager here at Diocesan, is currently a Lector at St. Anthony of Padua parish in Grand Rapids, MI. While at St. Thomas the Apostle, Grand Rapids, Jeanne was a Lector, Cantor, Coordinator of Special Liturgies, Coordinator of lectors and, at one time, chair of the Liturgy Commission. In a past life, secretary/bookkeeper at the Basilica of St. Adalbert where she ran the RCIA program for the Steepletown parishes. And she loves to write! When relaxing, she likes reading and word puzzles.