July 4, 2017 – Independence Day – Tuesday in the 13th Week of the Church Year


Saint for the day: Elizabeth of Portugal (1271 – July 4, 1336)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Genesis 19:15–29 – Psalm 26 – Matthew 8:23-27

“Give peace, O Lord, to those who wait for you, hear the prayers of your servants and guide us in the way of Justice. (Today’s Entrance Antiphon.)

 The Scriptures for today’s Liturgy are from the Mass for Peace and Justice. Other scriptures readings may be chosen. This option, however, makes it a little difficult to grab on to themes as there are too many directions for us to go in.

 On a day like today, there is a kind of ambiguity as to the proper readings so we just go with the general theme of building up the community to the good of all. Starting with today’s ‘saint,’ Elizabeth of Portugal, we can see that she worked for the common good even while living in a marriage that was less than perfect. Even so, she kept the Gospel close to her and went about striving to do good in every aspect of her life. There is no indication that she “railed” against her philandering husband but – probably through her constant focus on the Lord in prayer – he, of his own accord changed his life and aided her in her works of charity.

Independence wherever you look throughout all of history seems to have come about with a mixture of “love and war.” We can see this all throughout the Old Testament and on into our own time. Still, we must keep it in perspective and not start war in order to gain peace. We always must begin with love for all at the root of our efforts. Only in this way can we ultimately gain a peaceful independence.

As a religious I sometimes think that we need to celebrate a “dependence” on God rather than an in dependence from Him if we want to find true peace in our world. In this I come back to the four pillars of the Dominicans: Prayer, Study, Community, Ministry. In this order – and only in this way – can we find true dependence on God and independence from war and strife. Even while celebrating this day here in America we all know that there are many places in our world where people are suffering under dictatorships that rob them of their freedom. Let us never forget those around us who suffer and let us all pray for true De-pendence on God and IN-dependence from war and terror. Amen !

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