Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Scriptural Readings: Genesis 19:15-29; Psalms 26:2-3, 9-10, 11-12; Matthew 8:23-27
My dear encountered couples:
Have you ever seen the Statue of Liberty? Every American should see it. Every person in the world should see it. Very impressive. Not just because it has been newly overhauled and polished but for the purpose for which it stands. The Statue of Liberty stands as a reminder of what God wants for all people - FREEDOM!
At God’s bidding, Moses led the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the promised land. At God’s bidding, his Son became one of us and personally began our freedom from the devil. God wants us to be free from sin and death and all that is evil. I am sure we are all in favor of that. Freedom is not something to be taken lightly. It does not come easily, it is not lived without struggle, and it is not kept without constant watchfulness and care. As the designing and the construction of the Statue of Liberty took years of meticulous and painstaking work, followed by ongoing care and periodic restoration of all its parts, freedom demands uninterrupted respect and attention to every little detail of life if it is going to survive. As nature and pollution try to destroy the Statue of Liberty, there are people who try to destroy freedom. We must never allow that to happen.
Let me give a brief brush-up on the history of the Statue of Liberty, and add something about it that you might not know. The giant statue was a gift to the United States from France. It was conceived, designed, and built in France by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi with the help of Gustave Eiffel, and funded by donations from the French people. It was shipped across the Atlantic Ocean in sections and reassembled on what is called “Liberty Island” in the harbor of New York City.
The statue is of a woman representing liberty, raising a torch in her right hand and holding a tablet in her left. At the base of the statue is inscribed a poem by Emma Lazarus that reminds people of the great American vision. It reads:
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-lost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
The statue was dedicated by President Grover Cleveland in 1886 overhauled and strengthened in the 1980’s. Now for the tidbit you might not know.
Anyone taking a helicopter ride over the Statue will see that on the top of Liberty’s head every strand of her hair has been painstakingly formed in careful and minute detail, just as in the finest of beauty parlors. That precise and delicate hairdo must have required many additional weeks of work. And for what purpose? The airplane wasn’t invented until 17 years after the dedication. Why was such meticulous care given to Liberty’s hair when, as far as anyone knew at the time, nobody was going to see it?
Because Bartholdi was a great sculpture and always strove for perfection.
Shouldn’t we do that in everything we undertake? We have begun the task of being Christians. Our Blessed Mother is beckoning us to share in the freedom of her Son. Only those who work hard at it, only those who are very watchful that sin and corruption never enter their lives, only those who love will enter into the full and complete freedom of God’s children. We celebrate the gift of freedom today. Let’s not lose it - neither in our homeland nor in our souls. Pray for peace and freedom for all. Have a great 4th!