Homily – July 3, 2016

This weekend Canada and the US are celebrating their national holidays. We will all be thanking God for the blessings that are ours as we live in free and prosperous homelands. We will celebrate these days with family and friends. As the saying goes, “It is rightly so to do.”

We are blessed with freedoms lacking is so many other lands. First of all, thank God, we are free from war and civil strife. A situation that plagues so many nations today. We are free to worship God, free to speak our mind, free to vote, we have freedom of movement. We can live and work wherever we choose. Here in Canada we are blessed with a good health care system and our education systems are among the best. Both here and in the US we must know we are a blessed people.

It is good to remember that our freedoms also carry responsibilities. If we do not enjoy these freedoms to the same degree; we are not all equally blessed.

Some of us have it made; we may own our own home, we may have a good job or a good pension, we may be blessed with good health, we may have been able to give our children a good education. Things are good. Thank God.

But both our countries have a shadow side. Both our countries have men and women who are numbered among the working poor. Both our countries have businesses that ‘practice deceit and exploit the poor. We’ve read articles in the paper about workers being cheated out their wages by unscrupulous employers. Sweat shops are not limited to foreign lands. In both our countries families survive on Food Banks and we both have our homeless street people. Both are countries continue to contribute to the diminishment of the environmental and ecological health of Mother Earth.

Our many blessings carry with them responsibilities.

We are our brothers and sisters keeper and our lives will be judged on how we were present to the least of them. Both our countries are in need of a deeper sense of social justice and a respect for men and women different than ourselves. In our celebrations of our national holidays can we look to our personal attitudes toward ‘The other’ and our personal lifestyles and make our own commitment to ‘live simply that others may simply live.’

Poor Francis speaks of the globalization of indifference. We can develop a crisis fatigue as day after day we are bombarded by scenes of refugees seeking safety, of floods and fire destroying people’s homes.

Pope Francis offers us a sobering thought as we celebrate our blessed homelands and our good fortune;

Usually, when we are healthy and comfortable, we forget about others (something God the Father never does): we are unconcerned with their problems, their sufferings and the injustices they endure … Our heart grows cold. As long as I am relatively healthy and comfortable, I don’t think about those less well off. Today, this selfish attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of a globalization of indifference. It is a problem which we, as Christians, need to confront.

As we continue to celebrate this Mass we give thanks for the blessings that are ours and pray for the gift to be always mindful of the needs of others.