Declaration and Devotion | Sunday Reflection | Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Saint John's Seminary
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Declaration and Devotion | Sunday Reflection | Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 6, 2024

John Adams is one of my favorite historic figures. He was a leader in the fight for independence from Great Britain, our second president, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was known to have said: “[The Fourth of July] ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty; it ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

It has been almost 250 years since John Adams wrote those words after he and 56 others signed a document declaring they were willing to die for their ideals, saying in the words of Thomas Jefferson, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all [men] are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Those who placed their signatures on that world-changing document, were keenly aware they were, in essence, signing their lives away. John Adams went on to say, “I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these states. Yet through all the gloom I see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth all the means. This is our day of deliverance.”

Given the tensions that have surfaced in our country and the world over the past several years, the vision and hopefulness of those who literally placed their lives on the line when they signed the Declaration of Independence, need to be rekindled. As we observe Independence Day this weekend, let us do so with fireworks and cookouts, parades and picnics. But primarily, may we heed the words of our first president, George Washington, and use our time as an opportunity to “acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

By: Rev. Frank Silva