One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

July 04, 2007

For Independence Day in the United States of America, July 4

[It is not my turn to preach at Mass today in the monastery. This is a homily I wrote for Independence Day several years ago.]

Matthew 25:31-46

What use are we to make of our freedom?
In this Gospel the Son of God tells us that the use of our freedom gives us:
either eternal life in the kingdom of Christ and his Father,

or eternal fire with the devil.

In this Gospel, both the blessed and the damned had faith enough to call Christ “Lord.”
Christ teaches that the difference between eternal blessing and eternal damnation is not faith itself, but GOOD WORKS.
Christ our Lord and King tells us today that even if we don’t recognize him, we are serving him well or we are passing him by whenever we serve or neglect anyone who is in need.
It’s up to us to use the freedom he has given us to do good.
It is not enough to have freedom, but do nothing with it.
It is not enough to have freedom, but fail to do concrete good with it.
Today in the Gospel, damnation follows not from doing evil things, but merely from neglecting to do good things.
If we don’t use our freedom to do any positive good, and if we use our freedom to do positively bad things, we lose it.
We can lose our freedom— not just in hell, but now while we are still on this side of the grave.
The history of the human race has always taught us the lesson that when we use our freedom for evil, evil enslaves us.
Freedom exists for doing good or else it disappears.
On this day in the year of our Lord seventeen hundred seventy-six, the assembled representatives of the thirteen united States of America solemnly published and declared these states to be free and independent, absolved of all allegiance to Britain and its monarch.
The first sentence of our Declaration of Independence asserts that all nations have separate and equal status from the Laws of Nature and FROM NATURE’S GOD.
National independence comes FROM GOD.
The Declaration of Independence that gave birth to our nation on the fourth of the July in the year of our Lord seventeen hundred seventy-six— the Declaration of Independence expressly founded our American nation on a natural entitlement FROM GOD.
Shall we now pronounce the Declaration of Independence to be unconstitutional because of its faith in God?
You may remember that in June in the year of our Lord two thousand and two some American idiotic judge pronounced the pledge of allegiance to be unconstitutional because it calls our nation one under God.
The very first sentence of the Declaration of Independence, the very first sentence of our nation’s birth certificate appeals to God for its very existence.
Shall we now throw it out?
The SECOND sentence of the Declaration of Independence says that the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are GIFTS FROM GOD.
I’m going to read to you the first two sentences of our national Declaration of Independence.
The first sentence.
When in the course of human events,
it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands
which have connected them with another,
and to assume among the powers of the earth,
the separate and equal station
to which the laws of nature
and of nature’s GOD entitle them,
a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

The second sentence.
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.

Now, here as well is the last sentence of our national Declaration of Independence.
And for the support of this Declaration,
with a firm reliance on the protection of DIVINE PROVIDENCE,
we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

Today is a strange day for any HONEST atheist in the United States of America.
Since September of the year of our Lord two thousand and one, we have had new and pain-filled reasons to cherish and defend the independence and rights of our nation.
Let us be honest enough to publicly acknowledge on this two hundred and twenty-sixth birthday of our nation that our cherished independence and rights were asserted and defended by our founding fathers as GIFTS FROM GOD.
Our national freedom and rights, our personal freedom and rights— all freedoms and rights come from God.
As such they need to be used in Godly ways, or else they dissolve themselves.
Even if one does not believe in God, one can honestly observe that freedom used for doing bad has always enslaved itself.
We are here in church today to use our freedom and to enhance our freedom by worshipping Christ our King and his Father.
Here we will also benefit from God’s use of his freedom.
In his Eucharistic flesh and blood, God is our food and drink, our heavenly visitor, our clothing and home, our savior and eternal life.
Let us always honor him and look for him in the least of his brothers.

That God Be Glorified in All


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