Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
Independence Day! A time of appreciation for our country and the freedoms we share! An occasion of stopping and asking ourselves how we can best honor as well as ‘preserve, protect, and defend’ this special environment.

As a faith family we see these freedoms through the prism of the Gospel. These are the freedoms that help us answer our calls to serve: “whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Matthew 25:40, just cited, comes in a very special section called The Judgement of Nations. Jesus is saying that ultimately each of us as individuals has been called to spread the gospel of the love of God. That spreading happens through what we do as well as what we say. But it’s not just looking from individual to individual to see if we’re being Christlike; it’s also talking about the responsibilities we have collectively as a country of people who appreciate their gifts and act in gratitude for those gifts.

US doesn’t mean – ME FIRST. US means United we Stand. As a united people, we are not simply united in a defensive posture; we are of one heart and mind in saying how can we outstretch arms and hands and hearts to continue to shape a world that truly reflects its creator.

If you were a cynic, you might be tempted at this point to say to yourself, “all he needs now is a recording of Kate Smith singing ‘God Bless America’ as background music.”

But you are not a cynic. You are a Catholic who labors to find the ways of living the gospel. I’m tempted to say, “It sure ain’t easy.” Certainly, all the divisions in our country these days can seem to make it difficult.
 
Maybe simplifying it a little by asking myself, “Why do I treasure my country?” might help me realize that before anything else, it’s about attitude. Forgive the cliché, but I’m talking about “the attitude of gratitude.”

That is something that’s under my control. I choose to give thanks, thanks for the place and the space to be able to live out gospel commands, free of tyranny.

I’m sitting here thinking about what I just wrote and am laughing about the attitude of gratitude that I was feeling when I filed my last IRS income tax return – with check.

But you know what? Maybe that return helped pay for mowing the grass of the Washington Mall where I once sat on the night of the Fourth of July with an intimate gathering of 100,000 people to watch the fireworks. (Probably also paid for help¬ing clean up the mess we left behind.) Other people’s taxes may be among those doubtlessly wasted, but my taxes mowed the grass. That’s my belief and I’m sticking to it. I bought some of the fireworks, too...

Thank God on the Fourth this week for what we’ve got. Ask Him to take care of what we need in the same breath.

I guess talking about my taxes got me thinking about the fact that this year we are projecting about an $11,000 shortfall on ABCD. The parish will need to make up the difference, because our diocesan budget is very carefully constructed with the amount we were asked to raise. I’m good for another $1,500 after you guys were so generous on my 50th. But some of our former contributors have gone to heaven and so the shortfall remains with us. If you can give an extra shake to your piggy bank, I’d be grateful.

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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