“The spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor.” Luke 4:18
“America, God shed his grace on thee!”
Today is a day for picnics and family gatherings—and a moment or two of reflection. On Independence Day 2021 we have so much to be thankful for. The blessings of a democratic and open society are ours to cherish and protect. We are also blessed with remarkably diverse communities drawn from talent and aspirations the world over. These are the strengths that endow us with greatness.
At the same time, we are a country still in formation… still finding ways to resolve social and economic inequalities, especially the poverty that prevents people from living decent, hopeful, and productive lives. As we celebrate our 245th birthday today, may we be judged not only by our worldly accomplishments, but by how well we treat the weakest among us: the children, the elderly, the sick, the lonely, and the recently arrived.
Striving for success has its place, and we are truly grateful for the goal-setters. America’s achievements in science and the humanities continue to build better lives for people all over the world. But these achievements will always be compromised unless we also care for those who can’t care for themselves. I remind myself that true power rests in our relationship with God—and one another. So my prayer today is that we will direct our patriotic energies toward building a society where we can be judged first on how we treat the least among us. That is Christ’s message, too.
Friend, if you are traveling today, please arrive safely. Enjoy the festivities that I believe are really a call to serve one another and the nation we love. Today is a reminder that we are all caretakers of our democracy and the freedoms we cherish. I wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy July 4.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.
We sing to You, O God of every nation,
who led Israel out of slavery and
purified them in the desert of Sinai.
You blessed them with Your wisdom
and protection and bestowed on them
the sweet burden of the law
that they might ever remember
the good things You did for them.
Bless our nation as we recall the good things
You have done for us, breaking the Chains of Bondage
that bound us to one another, and setting us like a glorious
city on a hill offering a Beacon of Hope to those still oppressed.
Make us ever mindful of Your many graces and mercies
though times of peace and poverty, prosperity and pandemic
that in all things and in all ways Your name be praised.
Bless all prophets and patriots who sacrificed their
futures and often their lives to keep us safe and free.
May Your gifts of life, health, equality, and opportunity
be preserved and provided to all who dwell in our land.
May we never forget our final destiny
and fulfillment are with You in Your kingdom
where You live and reign forever and ever.
Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso