Sunday, May 28, 2017

Seventh Sunday of Easter - May 28, 2017

Perhaps the most famous speech in American history is Abraham Lincoln’s address at the dedication of the military cemetery in Gettysburg on November 19, 1863. In part, Lincoln said, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Lincoln understood that the best way to honor the soldiers who had fallen in battle was to carry on the task for which they had sacrificed their lives. As we now prepare to celebrate Memorial Day, we ask ourselves if we are ready to live out the ideals upon which our nation was founded. We frequently take our way of life for granted. This holiday is for more than just cookouts and ballgames (and the famous Kennedy Township parade). It is a time for us to remind ourselves of what we have to live up to.

In a similar vein, our school students are getting ready to put their books on the shelf and begin their summer vacation. Our eighth graders graduate this Wednesday evening, and the rest of the school finishes the year on Thursday morning. Our students will take a break so that they may return in the fall to another year of learning and of growing in God’s love. Our eighth graders will take what they learned at St. Malachy and will move on to the next stage of their education, whether at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Bishop Canevin, Montour or elsewhere. And as the summer begins, we remember that God never takes a vacation. He has promised to be with us always. It is up to us to remember and to continue to grow in His grace.

Finally, permit me to tie the two themes of this column (Memorial Day and the end of the school year) together with my opening reference to President Lincoln’s remarks at Gettysburg. There is an old joke about a nun who was discussing the Civil War with her class. She called on one student and asked, “Billy, what can you tell us about Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address?” Billy replied, “I don’t know his Gettysburg Address, Sister. But I know he lived at the White House.”

                                                                                               Father H