Holy Cross Catholic Church

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14th Sunday in Ordinary Time - July 4, 2021

Dear Friends,

Today is the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time. It is also Independence Day: 4th of July. The Gospel comes to remind us that following Christ is an ongoing challenge, especially when we have to bear witness in our own household.

These challenges reveal our powerlessness and they drive us to willing to give up. The first reading display the stubbornness of the people of Israel who would not listen to the voice of the prophet. Yet, Ezekiel is strengthened in his mission. Likewise, in today’s culture of compromise and compromission, no one is ready to listen to words which challenge their “peaceful and comfortable” life. We are in a society characterized by “mind your business and leave me alone” way of life. But the courage that comes from our faith and the recognition and embrace of our mission as prophets, meaning, the mouth, the eyes and the feet of the Lord cannot let us be silent and accomplice with the evil. We are meant to be the light of the world, and the darkness will use every king of excuses and accusations to tear us down. The true, however, is that when we persevere with openness to God’s grace, we will be able to be and make the difference God wants to be and to make, in our life as well as the lives of those around us.

Like the people in the time of Ezekiel and Christ, we, people in today’s culture cherish our freedom. And like them, we mainly understand this freedom rather as “freedom from God” than “freedom for God.” Because we choose freedom from God, we refuse to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit within us and in front of us. We ear one another down for our own benefits and despise each other because of our refusal to listen to the voice of the Lord.

For us, disciples of Christ, the challenge is even greater. We experience fighting, misunderstanding and every kind of difficulty within our own families. But Christ reminds us today that evil should always be faced with courage and perseverance in faith. Fear and shame will always display our own shortcomings. Yet, if God chooses us, it not because we  are perfect, but in spite of our brokenness. For He is the One who calls and chooses us. Not otherwise. And when He does it, He girds us with the necessary strength to confront the evil in the world. Christ was mocked and despised by His own. You also will be mocked and despised because of your faithfulness to the Lord. But the good news is that Christ will never despise you as you hold unto Him and trusts in Him. The mission He entrusted us with will always bear fruit if we remain faithful to Him.

On this Independence Day, let us meditate on our dependence upon God and strengthen our desire to enjoy “freedom for God” instead of “freedom from God.” In doing so, we will work towards “freedom and justice for all,” as we share to God’s nature through our adoption as His children in Christ. And let us continue to pray for our Country, our Troops, one another and for our parish family.

Happy and Blessed Independence Day!

Fr. Emery


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