The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

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14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sun, 07/05/2015
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
Today (this weekend) we celebrate our nation’s birthday.
For the sake of our civil education and edification,
in order to inspire within us the spirit of our first United States ancestors
I thought I would review the declarations and documents issued by our first government.
I’ve just read to you the first sentence of….
The Declaration of Independence.
In addition there is the original Constitution with its seven articles,
the Bill of Rights which comprise the first 10 amendments to the Constitution,
and the seventeen additional amendments that have been made to the Constitution
over 239 years of history.
There are 1,137 words in the Declaration
and 4,543 words in the original Constitution.
If I read to you these two documents, a total of 5680 words….
and I do so at 2 words a second,
(that’s what I do from the pulpit, people have timed me),
it would take me approximately 50 minutes.
By the time the deacon says “Go forth, the Mass is ended”
the grill will have gone cold,
the potato salad will have spoiled
and the ice in the coolers will have melted.
My name would be mud.  (Maybe it already is.)
Anyway, since today is a birthday
and birthdays are a time to give gifts I ask
“what gift can we give our country?
What does our country need?”
I believe our country needs and will always need….a soul, a moral conscience,
an internal compass that points the way to goodness, peace and true freedom, true liberty;
Our country needs a center and core that is educated, informed, wise, honest, dedicated,
intelligent, sensible, compassionate, generous, discerning,
perceptive, transparent, reasonable,
decent, virtuous, steadfast…
….you get the picture.
And I believe we:  Catholics, Christians, believers, religiously intelligent citizens
are both qualified and called to assume this most important role.
Too many people within our shores are saying:
            “…I want rights but not obligations and responsibilities.
            I want freedom but not boundaries.
            I want all that comes with success but not have to sacrifice.
            I want to indulge my pleasures but not discipline my will.
            I want to be comfortable but I don’t to work.
            I want to be taken care of but I don’t want to care for others.”
The history of our country shows that Catholics have helped shape and form
the good, the ordered, the cooperative elements of American lifestyle.
Without the contribution of Catholics…
with schools and hospitals, with doctors and lawyers and teachers,
by being helpful neighbors,
by a willingness to contribute time and resources
to better the lives of the poor, or immigrants,
by welcoming the stranger,
by showing respect and dignity to the sanctity of life,
…without the contribution of Catholics
I can’t even imagine what current day life in the country would be like.
Let us pray for our country.
As a church we live under its constitution, under its protection.
We are given the freedom to practice our faith,
and hopefully we will be able to continue to do so without interference.
By our words and actions, by our virtuous practices and religious habits,
we add something very good to the American experience.
But we are more than humanitarians.  We are Christians.
Our task is to bring Christ to our fellow citizens.
There are many options in our country regarding lifestyles and beliefs.
I believe our task is to show that living as a Catholic
is more sensible, more reasonable, more joyful,
more dignified,  more honorable, more fulfilling, more life-giving,
more human, more loving, more meaningful, more uplifting,
more redeeming, more self-actualizing, more satisfying—
than all other available options.
By tending to our own soul and to our own conscience,
we improve the soul and conscience of our country
… gifts not to be dismissed or shortchanged.
Happy Birthday America.
May God grant us the blessing of celebrating our civil birthday for many years to come.