Fourtheenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The second reading for today speaks about flesh and spirit. St. Paul tells us that if we live according to the flesh, concentrating on the things of the world and on self gratification, we will die. If we live according to the Spirit, concentrating on following God and living our Christian life, we will live.

We all have a great deal of pride in this country. This weekend we celebrate, Independence Day. This is our proudest national holiday as we remember the determination of our founding fathers to establish a country that respected the absolute rights of all its citizens.

I am not an American but searching in a book of the history of this country I read that the Founding Fathers were convinced that the hand of God was responsible for the success of the Revolutionary War and for the success of the Constitutional Convention. Faith in God and the determination to live his laws was the basis of this country, regardless of the particular denominations of our founders. They put "in God we trust" on our coinage.

At the same time, the Founding Fathers demanded a separation of Church and State. This was never meant to be a separation of God or his laws from the State. It was a separation of denominations and the state.

Since my personal perspective I think that it was never the intention of the Founding Fathers to exclude God, nor prayer to God, nor the principles of morality from the country. From its inception, this wonderful country recognized the existence of its spiritual dimension. St. Paul says, flesh begets death and spirit begets life. Therefore, if this country is concerned with materialism and self gratification, it is on a course of death. If this country is concerned with living the law of God, no matter how that law is expressed in various denominations, then the country is on the road of life.

There has been abundant criticism of priests, ministers, and Churches for making statements regarding the laws of our land. It is certainly true, that no priest, minister or Church should enter into partisan politics. However, the priest, minister and Church do have an obligation and responsibility to point out the instances where the State is drifting away from the laws of God[1].

The church is called to be an authentic teacher of people and a herald of truth. The Second Vatican Council said that we have a responsibility to interpret the Gospel in the light and signs of our times. Priest or laity, we all have the responsibility to demand that this country remain true to the spiritual dimension of its foundation. We have the right and responsibility to demand that the law of God, basic morality, remain the foundation of the laws of our land.

As good Catholics and good Americans, we pray that the quest to preserve and nurture the spiritual dimensions of this nation might always overcome the temptation to let materialism, the flesh, dominate our land. On this fourth of July weekend we pray for the virtue of patriotism. May God bless America ■

[1] This is not just the abortion issue; although that would be good enough since our country has legalized murder in the name of women’s rights. The Church has spoken against an economic system where the rich become richer and poor become poorer. The Church has spoken against going to war unless it is both just and the absolute last possibility. The Church has spoken against capital punishment, which is usually a punishment reserved for the poor.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris