Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual help | July 4, 2021
“As the Lord spoke to me, the spirit entered into me
and set me on my feet,
and I heard the one who was speaking say to me:
Son of man, I am sending you.”
Brothers and Sisters,
Happy Independence Day! Around this time, we participate in hometown parades, grill outdoors with friends and family, then wait on blankets for the fireworks to light up the night sky. And I do apologize to those of you who struggled to decide: to put your chair out on Frederick Road a month ago or have a chair available for the outdoor Mass.
As we celebrate our nation and our founders’ ideals, we thank God for the freedoms preserved for us and future generations. Yet, our nation is not a finished product, and we continue to work toward realizing the vision of one nation “under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” After all, indeed, freedom is a gift appreciated when we recognize our responsibility to live as God’s children, seeking to bring unity to the human family in peace while striving to protect life, eradicate all forms of modern-day slavery and injustice.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus returns to his childhood home, Nazareth, where many remember him as a boy and then a teenager. Maybe this familiarity with Jesus as an ordinary person is why townsfolk presume he couldn’t possibly have that much divine wisdom to impart. Similar to that of Jesus, we probably have known those who can recall us as young kids; and now that we’ve grown, they struggle to see us as adults and validate who we’ve become. As a result, they have difficulty trusting our knowledge or experience – after all, we were those children just recently.
“The Son of Man,” what does this title mean, and why does Jesus choose it, if he can honestly claim the grandest title of “the Son of God?” In the literal sense, we may refer to ourselves accurately as a “child of humanity.” We are born to our mother and father. In the prophet Ezekiel, God refers to the prophet as a “son of man”– Ezekiel is ben-adam – a human family member. Jesus’ humanity, though, doesn’t diminish his wisdom or the miracles he can perform by bringing us fully into the presence of God.
What does it mean to be a member of the human family? Created in the very image and likeness of God, this truth imbues us with a special purpose and knowing that God dwells with us, calls us, and sends us forth. As Ezekiel describes, God sends the Spirit (even though the prophet does not yet know about the Holy Spirit) and the Spirit strengthens him to bear God’s wisdom as a prophet. As a member of the human family, the Lord desires us to serve each other. So as we go about our day, let us be fully aware, while reinforced with prayer: to whom is the Lord sending me?
Of course, Jesus is not just another one of us. When he refers to himself as the Son of Man, he’s fulfilling the prophecy of Daniel, in which the Son of Man has a lasting kingship. Jesus is the true source of unity and peace in our world, healing our humanity’s wounds and preparing us as vessels to bear the Word and bring Christ to others. So, let’s continue to implore the Lord’s care and protection of our nation and that leaders may encourage all citizens to place our beloved country in the hands of God through prayer.
Please continue to pray for Fr Anthony and Fr Rob as they become new members in a parish family. We give deep gratitude to Fr. Rob for his charitable service to our parish and the Lord and we look forward to seeing what the Lord has planned for Fr. Anthony at OLPH!
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
Rev. Michael S. Triplett