AMERICA – THE LAND OF OPPORTUNITY AND FREEDOM
Saturday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time (U.S. Independence Day)
Scriptural Readings: Amos 9:11-15; Psalm 85:9ab+10, 11-12, 13-14; Matthew 9:14-17
My dear encountered couples:
Choices! That’s what we celebrate today. This is the anniversary of our freedom to choose. You and I, thanks to God and thanks to those who lived before us, have freedom to choose success or failure; we have the freedom to choose knowledge or ignorance; we have the freedom to choose misery or happiness.
Oh sure! There are always circumstances and conditions that restrict and limit our activities and our efforts and our choices. But here is a fact of life for all of us to remember: God has put us in a country where opportunities abound. We are free to choose, free to decide, and free to do what we’ve decided. We can try to change our lives to the better if we wish, we can leave them as they are, or we can let them deteriorate. We can work hard to improve our lives; we can sit back and do nothing.
So many people seem to accept mediocrity; they give in to things as they are. They live only on the defensive. Surviving is their goal. Surviving or perishing is how they view their options. Because they lack money, because they lack education, because they lack influence with people in high places, because they have no car, no job, no nice clothes, because of their color, their background, their ancestors’ nationality, even because of their sexual orientation they have accepted mediocrity — or worse.
What they have done is choose to remain as they view themselves. Behind an eight ball that won’t roll itself out of their way. Many Americans feel so sorry for themselves. They wallow in self-pity. They bury themselves in drink, drugs, and shallow pleasures. Why don’t we realize how fortunate we are?
Why aren’t we jumping out of bed every morning praising God that we can do what we want to improve ourselves and our lives? Why don’t we realize that much of the world dreams and prays for what we’ve got – for the freedom to choose what we are going to do today, tomorrow, and next year? Much of the world is without that freedom. God has been good to us. He has put us here – when it could have been one of thousands of other places. Our founding fathers have been good to us. They could have let the status quo continue and we could still be kissing the feet of kings and working like slaves to support their high ways of living, paying with our sweat every day so they could play croquet on the lawn and sip tea. We have been greatly blessed.
Sure, we have to work – and hard. We have to pay taxes, pay our high bills, put up with some crooked politicians and selfish big businesses. We might have to face discrimination from some people, injustice from others; there are real fears for all of us to face. But we have the freedom to at least try to make things better. Many in the world don’t have that freedom.
Celebrate today. Show appreciation for your freedom to choose by using it well and often. Blessed are you! God has given you a land of opportunity to live in now, he offers you heaven for the future. Use what you’ve got and expect the best that is yet to come. Choose a better way of life every day.