Shortly I will be celebrating Mass at one of our parish cemeteries. Here are some of the thoughts I plan to share.
Today is Memorial Day (May 27, 2013). For many, it marks the unofficial beginning of summer. From now until Fall we expect warm weather, shorts, and picnics. Many people will have their first picnic of the summer this weekend. These things are fine but we need to think about why we celebrate Memorial Day.
Memorial Day is a day to remember those who died in service to our country. There are various stories of the origin of Memorial Day. North of us, Waterloo has been designated as the official birthplace of Memorial Day.
Does our celebration of Memorial Day mean we glorify war? Absolutely not. War is never a good thing. Isaiah (9:1-6) speaks of those in darkness and gloom. War can be full of darkness and gloom. Lives are lost, some of them completely innocent of anything to do with war.
As we celebrate Memorial Day, we gather here at Calvary Cemetery to celebrate Mass. We bury our loved ones in this dignified place because we believe in the resurrection of the body. We do not just throw dead bodies away. We give them a dignified burial. We don’t forget them after they are buried either. We maintain our cemeteries to keep them always as a dignified place.
For this Memorial Day, the graves of veterans are marked with flags. This is not because we glorify war because we do not. War is a terrible thing. But what we can honor is the service of this people. They put the needs of others before their own lives. That’s what Jesus calls us to in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12a).
What is our primary concern? Are we most worried about ourselves? Are we concerned for the needs of others? What can we do to help?
The best way we can honor our deceased family and friends who died in service to our country is to stand up for what is right. All life is special. We stand for life.