Thursday, July 4, 2013

Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

(Genesis 2:1b-19; Matthew 9:1-8)

The Lord’s test of Abraham related in the first reading today is one of the greatest stories of the Bible and, indeed, Western Civilization.  God asks Abraham to put his destiny completely in His hands.   Passing the test by willfully carrying out the command to kill his favored son until the last moment when God names another victim, Abraham shows himself a worthy beneficiary of God’s awesome blessing.  He can be a true father to many nations.

As Americans celebrate their nation’s birth today, it faces a momentous test similar to Abraham’s.  The promise of freedom, which the nation’s founders claimed on July 4, 1776, was based on the principles of natural laws expressed in Thomas Jefferson’s famous words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  The test is whether the nation will continue to pursue freedom in accord with God’s will as given in human nature.  The alternative path, on which the nation seems to be headed, is to dally in contrived freedoms like abortion and homosexual marriage.

We come together today to implore the risen Lord present in our midst to straighten the misguided turns the United States has taken in recent years.  We pray that a nation so well-endowed with a gracious people, prudent laws, and abundant resources may not deviate from the path of righteousness upon which its founders set it.