Jul 3, 2017

The Echo of Two Bells

On the Fourth of July, we observe the anniversary of the writing and proclamation in 1776 of the Declaration of Independence.

From the City of Brotherly Love, a new political experiment was born.  From there it slowly made its way westward.  It would not be until 1850 that California would finally admitted into the union of these United States of America.


It is well worth reflecting upon what was happening in California in 1776.  On that historic day when the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia announced the birth of the United States, the bells of six of the Californian Missions were already ringing throughout California.  These bells were announcing the beginning of Mass, the times for prayer and when food was served for anyone who was hungry.

Even today, these bells have been immortalized along the 600 miles of the El Camino Real that begins in San Diego, passes through the middle of our parish and stretches north to Sonoma, just north of San Francisco where Saint Junipero Serra who was living and witnessing to the Gospel on the first 4th of July in 1776.

Today's commemoration of that date should allow us to reflect on the fact that we have dual citizenship. I am not talking about US and Californian. Every single person, all of us are first and foremost citizens of heaven and of earth with the rights, duties and obligations to treat and love our neighbor as we would ourselves. Of course, Christ has given us a template in the parable of the Good Samaritan and also to model His own example as the Good Shepherd to who care for all His flock and seeks out the lost and the abandoned.

And whether we are local, native, a visitor or immigrant, we all owe our faith to the missionaries and exiles who came before us. We are therefore duty bound to be always grateful that we have found a home and a land where we have, at least, the freedom to worship. Today, in particular, even we are far from perfect and we wrestle to understand divine providence, we pray for our land, for the nation, for our government and for all who find themselves within this sacred union of brotherly love and Christian discipleship.  

And let us also not forget all our men and women in uniform, both past and present. They often find themselves in the heat of the battle to save lives, to protect the innocent and to uphold our common values.  May they find protection under the wings of St. Michael the Archangel and inspiration from the many, many Martyrs and Saints of heaven who lived their heroic lives throughout these lands.

And may our nation under the patronage of the most Immaculate Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth become a credible witness, after the manner of Christ Himself, of a sacrificial love that will ring out loud and clear for the whole world to notice and give praise to God.

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