July 4, Independence Day !

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

When we as a nation were still reeling from Covid and the vaccine was just on the horizon, President Biden held out July 4 as the goal when Americans could once again safely gather with family. The freedom from the fears of the pandemic, he hoped would fade and healing of the nation begin. And so it is we can celebrate and remember all of the countless blessings we enjoy on this cherished July 4.

Some of the earliest memories I have of summer fun include July 4 celebrations. Most often we were at a big old house in Peabody, high on a hill and the view from there was great. The fireworks could be seen from miles around and so folks would come up the hill and relatives and friends as well would arrive for the FIREWORKS on the 4th of July. Being too young to stay up till long after dark meant I had to plead for the privilege, and often my pleas were successful. Only problem was, I think I still fell asleep with the excitement of the evening, before the fireworks began.

The more meaningful part of the celebration wasn’t the show, or the special foods, as well as the ice cream and other good stuff. The most meaningful was that we all were together to share this special evening. Brothers and sisters, mom and dad and cousins with uncles and aunts and assorted other friends and family all found their way to the hill for a beautiful summer evening of food, fun celebrating and sharing. And of course, what we were really celebrating is that we were free to do precisely that.

The freedom you and I enjoy every day as Americans is precious and comes to us at a very high price. This holiday is so special and necessary because it helps us remember, and not take for granted the gift of our freedom and the cost our forbearers and many of us have paid for it. Yes, service in the military is one such cost. However, it is more than those of us who were servicemen who paid that cost. It is all of the families – mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters and countless friends who gave their family and friends, either for some years or forever, in service to the country. It is all those who have labored to keep peace, order and security within the country who have paid a price. It is also the
countless citizens who work hard and pay heavy taxes to support the country and her mission who also contribute.

Freedom, as the saying goes, isn’t free. Many have paid the cost and continue to do so. On this Independence Day weekend, when we gather with friends and family to celebrate and share, gratitude ought to be the emotion in our hearts, and prayers for those who continue to pay the cost ought to be on our lips. Let us remember in prayer also those who do not enjoy the liberty that is ours. And of course, ultimately let us be thankful to God for the countless blessings we share in this great land.

The work of this great nation is not complete. We are a work in progress. There remain challenges of poverty, ignorance, racism, and countless prejudices that separate us one from the other. Our greatness will most brilliantly shine not in our economic accomplishments, but rather when we truly stand,
ONE NATION, UNDER GOD.

~ Fr. Ronan ~

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 3/4, 2021

Today’s Gospel reveals Jesus being amazed that the people in his hometown of Nazareth do not accept
his teaching and ministry; he is amazed at their lack of faith (Mk 6:6).
Good stewards recognize and participate in Christ’s teaching, reconciling and healing presence in their community.
Are we good stewards of our family of faith?
Do we value and support the ministries that take place in Christ’s name?
Are we attentive to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our parish and encourage those who work to enhance our life of faith?