I am sure you have noticed the American flags around the parish grounds this Sunday. We thank our local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for assisting in placing the flags. There are 50 flags that we have on the parish grounds. There is one flag for each state!
The definition of freedom has certainly changed over the years. In a modern understanding, freedom is sought as being one who is entirely independent and free to choose one’s own fate. In the Christian understanding, freedom is the gift that God has given us to completely love Him, to love ourselves and God’s creation. Freedom in the tradition of the faith is to embrace the invitation that God has called us to be with Him in Eternal Life.
As Christians we are free to pursue our goals, dreams, and careers. However, these goals should be oriented towards the good. In certain circumstances we may have to give up certain dreams or goals out of the love for our family or even for the common good of the Church. St. John Paul II wanted to be an actor. When Christ called him in youth to the priesthood, John Paul II gave up his career for something much greater. So many mothers and fathers had to give up certain goals or aspirations to provide for their children.
Father Jacques Philippe says, “Our freedom is, in fact, proportionate to the love and childlike trust we have for our heavenly Father.“ He states that “the saints gave themselves to God without reserve, wanting only to do his will. In return they received the sense of enjoying an immense freedom, which nothing in the world could take away from them, and which was the source of intense joy.”
Bishop Robert Barron says that among the modern saints, St. Maximilian Kolbe had the greatest freedom. In his last few months, St. Maximilian Kolbe lived in terrifying conditions at Auschwitz. Yet he still had a wonderful freedom to love God and had peace in his soul. He was so free that he gave his life to save another.
Our freedom as Christians, that is given to us by God, is to become another Christ. The laws of our nation have provided us freedom to worship the One True God. The gift of our free will comes from God directly, let us use it to love Him entirely.
I wish you all a blessed Fourth of July. Blessings to all our veterans and to all the men and women of our armed forces from our parish.
In Jesus and Mary,
Fr. Jeff Yildirmaz