Browsing Deacon Ernie's Reflections

1-17-2021 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

To what do we pledge allegiance?

In my last article for the Feast of the Epiphany, I mentioned how the star of Bethlehem was invisible during the day and that only in the dark of night did its brilliance shine and lead the Magi to Jesus. Similarly I said that holiness is most obvious against a backdrop of evil. I do not think there is any rational person who would disagree with me when I say that the events of January 6th in Washington D.C. have revealed to the world, a ‘dark side’ of America. Being raised and educated in post-World World II America, I believed without question that the allied powers, especially the United States were the “good guys.” In retrospect however, it’s clear to me that my rose-colored glasses of childhood prevented me from realizing that as great a nation as we are, and as proud as I am to be an American, there were, are and will likely continue to be dark forces operative within our nation and even within our Church.

God did not intend this to be our lot. In fact Sacred Scripture tells us:  “God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female” (Gen 1: 27). As such, we were also given free will - i.e., the ability to choose, but our first ancestors, whom we know as Adam and Eve, chose evil over good. As a result, we lost our total likeness to God and inherited an attraction to things ungodly, but God did not abandon us. Instead: God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (John 3:16). We need to realize that the cost of eternal life, was the death of Jesus - God’s only Son!

How many of us would be able to consciously send our own child into a situation, knowing that his/her death would be required? Honestly, I could not, and I suspect that I am not alone in this regard. Granted, parents of military personnel face this all the time as do those whose children are health care workers, first responders, police, fireman, etc. You are heroes and you reflect God image, truly!

My friends, five people woke up on January 6th with no intention of dying, but they did. In times like this, we need to be like the Star of Bethlehem that shines bright amid the darkness, recognizing and calling out evil for what it is, regardless of which side perpetrates it! As people of God, this is our moral duty and I encourage each and every one of us to do our part to reunite our United States. Let’s stand together again and re-pledge our allegiance to God and to each other, and pursue the dream of becoming at long last:  “…, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and just for all!”       

Deacon Ernie

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