The Star Spangled Banner and the Word of God, a reflection
• In today’s Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
• The base of the statue of Liberty contains a passage written by Emma Lazarus:
“Give me your tired,
your huddled masses
yearning to breathe free,
the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
• I love God
o I love our Country
• On this 4th of July weekend it is right and proper to reflect upon God and Country
• Like many of you, I am the son of an immigrant, who as a young man in 1921, came by ship from Italy, entered New York Harbor and was thrilled at seeing the Statue of Liberty and coming to “America” through Ellis Isalnd.
• Like many of you, I was honored to serve in our country’s military
• Like many of you, I have family members who have served or are currently serving in the military.
o My late wife Alice, served in the US Navy as a nurse
o My son-in-law, a highly decorated Marine, is in his 27th year of service
• On this fourth of July we honor those who have made our Freedom Possible
• I love God and I love our Country
o On this Sunday we honor and worship our God, the source of all Freedom and Jesus, His only begotten Son, who set us Free from Original sin and has shown us the way to everlasting life.
• As I prepared for this Sunday’s homily I was drawn to the connectedness of our experience of God and Country.
o Our country has a greatness despite its many flaws.
o Our God is ultimate greatness, perfect and without flaws
o Our country, as is our earthly life, a temporary thing
o Our God and our heavenly life are eternal
• As I prayed about the wonders of this great country and our great God, I was led to reflect on important words
o The words written by Francis Scott Key on Sept. 14, 1814 , words of the Star Spangled Banner.
o And the words of God and Jesus from Sacred Scripture
o I discovered a wonderful connection between these words.
o Please allow me to share that reflection with you.
• The Star Spangled Banner and the Word of God
• “Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light”
o The first dawn and first light came from God, our Creator. “In the beginning, darkness covered the abyss and God said ‘Let there be light’. (Genesis 1)
o The world became covered with the darkness of sin and God sent His only begotten Son.
o Jesus said: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness.” (John 8:12)
• What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
o As Jesus approached Jerusalem at the twilight of His time on earth, riding on a donkey, He was hailed by a very large crowd who spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed and proudly hailed Him shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”
• Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
o Jesus’ life spanned from the Star of Bethlehem to the stripes upon his back at the scourging at the pillar. … in His perilous fight for our salvation.
• O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
• And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
o Mary, the Mother of Jesus along with other women and a disciple watched Jesus, suffer bravely and gallantly for us as He died upon the cross, red precious blood of Jesus and “the earth quaked, rocks were split”, the veil in the sanctuary of the temple was torn in two.
• Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
o Jesus through the nights of his entombment rose from the dead to show He was still there and will always be there and showed us the promise of life after death.
• Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
o The cross of Jesus has become the standard of our faith, it stands forever as a symbol of the forgiveness of our sins and a symbol of our salvation
• O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
o God created us in His own image
o God created us to be free
o Free to worship without fear
o Jesus’s death and resurrection give us hope
o Jesus by reason of this hope, compels us to be brave
Be brave in the face of adversity
Be brave in the face of disappointments
Be brave when others seek to hurt us
Be brave when we face struggles of life
Be brave when a love one dies
Be brave when we suffer serious illness
Be Brave, Be Brave, my brothers and sisters
Because we are free,
Because of the faith our God gives us
Because of the love God showers upon us
Be free and be brave
• Citizens of America
• Citizens of the Kingdom of God
by Al Schifano