Some of you are here this three-day weekend, the last long weekend before school lets out for summer break and vacations begin. Other people will take advantage of this holiday and either travel or make use of the extra day to get together with family and friends. In the church we celebrate the Sixth Sunday of Easter, when Jesus in John’s Gospel asks us to keep his commandments, and then He will send the Holy Spirit, the Advocate who will be with us always. Each person needs an advocate, someone to plead their cause or case, to accompany them on their journey of faith to inspire them to act in Christ’s name. How is the Holy Spirit breathing in you? How do you breathe life into those around you? Sometimes the only thing we can do is pray for those who ask for our prayers, interceding for them before the living God. We remember and honor all those who ask for our assistance and prayers.
Similarly, we honor those veterans who sacrificed their lives for our country ever since the Civil War. Memorial Day or Decoration Day as it was first known began shortly after the Civil War to honor the Union soldiers who died. Later it was expanded to include the Confederate soldiers who also served their states and fought bravely for their strong beliefs.
How will you honor and observe Memorial Day this year? You may go to one of the Masses offered at Gate of Heaven cemetery or Calvary cemetery honoring all those who have served since the Civil War, WW I – “the war to end all wars,” WWII – a war fought on many fronts, to Korea, Viet Nam, the first Gulf War Iraq and Afghanistan, too many wars to mention. Others may quietly go to the cemetery and place a flag on the grave of a veteran, observe a parade, listen/watch a musical tribute, gather with family and friends and take a moment of silence for those who paid the greatest sacrifice.
As each year passes, there are fewer veterans from the 12 million who were under arms during WW II, Tom Brokaw’s the Greatest Generation, remain. Ever since September 11, 2001 the Armed Forces have gone out of their way to try and provide an Honor Guard for each veteran’s funeral service. I have been privileged to see these soldiers, men and women, offer military honors with dignity and respect, it’s the least we can do for the fallen. As the veterans from WWII dwindle, let us remember their courage, their sacrifices. On Memorial Day, let us pray for peace, so their efforts do not disappear or are forgotten. Ultimately, the Lord is the only one who can give us true peace. Let us pray and work for peace.
Easter Blessings – Father Larry