Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Reflection For Independence Day

It seems appropriate that on Independence Day, celebrated today in the United States, the Church has selected scripture readings that allow us to reflect on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, in particular the gift of wisdom. In the gospel of John, we listen in on a conversation Jesus is having with his disciples during the Seder supper on the night before he died. Some of them want to see and to know the Father. Jesus reminds them that everything he has said comes from the Father. Then, he continues, “I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” (John 14:26-27)

A nation given such freedom and such blessings bears a great responsibility as well. It is a commitment which becomes possible only with the blessing of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If it is not difficult for us, as individuals, to overlook the role of the Advocate in our dealings with other people, how much easier does it become to forget that we can seek the help of the Paraclete to guide the decisions made by our political leaders, at the local, state and national levels of governance?

In the second reading, from the Epistle of James, reference is again made to wisdom: “Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show his works by a good life in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.” (James 3:13-14). The reflection on wisdom is significant today; as is our work to restore prosperity in our land, which will in turn affect the people around the world.

From the first reading in Isaiah, we are reminded of how much we are loved and supported by our Father, despite our leanings away from God’s Will from time to time. The Prophet calls us back from this movement away from God when he speaks for God in the following line, “Because of their wicked avarice I was angry, and struck them, hiding myself in wrath, as they went their own rebellious way. I saw their ways, but I will heal them and lead them; I will give full comfort to them and to those who mourn for them.” (Isaiah 57: 17-18) Now that is a loving God.

We never have to think we are on our own. Let us use these reminders to call upon the Holy Spirit daily, Come Holy Spirit Come. God Bless Us Everyone, and Happy Independence Day.

Deb Fortina, Academic Affairs, Creighton University

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