Mary made haste to visit Elizabeth. She cared for Elizabeth and not only helped her through her pregnancy and birth but brought her the Good News of the impending birth of the Savior. Mary brought Elizabeth the proclamation of their freedom!
Today we honor those who died while serving our country in the military. Because of the faithfully fallen, many today will have barbecues, go to the movies, fly kites, blow bubbles, and spend time with their families. Today we honor those who gave their lives to protect our freedom.
So it is little wonder that freedom is on my mind today. Mary announces our freedom from sin and our fallen military remind us of the price of freedom.
Today is a day to remember. A day to remember those who have given the greatest gift - their lives, that we might be free. A day to remember to pray for their souls and those left behind. A day to remember to live in such a way as to be worthy of that freedom. A day to remember the greatest gift of them all - what price Jesus paid for our freedom from sin. A day to remember what Mary suffered for her Son. A day to remember how much God loves us. A day to remember to thank God for the gift of His Son and our Redemption. A day to remember what our responsibilities are in receiving the gifts those who have died for us have given us.
Today is a day to celebrate. A day to celebrate the freedoms our fallen soldiers have preserved and a day to celebrate that ultimate freedom, from sin. A day to celebrate our deliverance from the enemy. And while barbecues are fun, they are not the best way to celebrate nor honor those who died for us. The greatest honor we can give them is to use their gifts the best we can. We can use the freedom they gave us well. We can vote informed, we can drive responsibly, we can behave civilly, we can share hospitably, we can aid charitably, we can defend life always, we can be the citizen they hoped we'd be and wished they could have. And, above all, we can receive the sacrament of Confession, celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and strive to live in virtue, always pleasing to our God. Certainly, freedom is no more free for those who receive it than it is for those who give it. Accepting freedom bears the price of living free for others as well as for ourselves.
Almighty God, today we remember your faithful servants and we pray that, having received them into the comfort of your arms, they may rejoice in the eternal victory of your Son. We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Your Son, who live and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.