Today's readings: Philippians 4:6-9 & John 14:23-29
Memorial Day originally began in our country as an occasion to remember and decorate the graves of the soldiers who died in the Civil War. Later it became a holiday to commemorate all those who had died in war in the service of our country. This continues to be the main focus of Memorial Day but this day has also become a time to remember not just those who died in war, but also all of our loved ones who have died. It is above all a time to remember.
As a people, we tend to look for heroes in our lives. Our society gives us all kinds of heroes, most of them really pretty unworthy of the title. How many sports heroes have also been drug users? How many political heroes have also turned out to be corrupt? How many entertainment heroes have found their way into drug or alcohol abuse or have turned out to be flawed in other ways? We are all of us both saints and sinners. We are works in progress hoping for true redemption in Christ. We should therefore look up to those heroes in our lives who have been people of faith, even if they have been flawed in other ways.
And so we remember today those who have been believers, those who loved God and, as Jesus commanded in today's Gospel, have kept his word. These are the heroes we would do well to pattern our lives after, as St. Paul says in today's first reading: "Finally, brothers [and sisters], whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you."
Those who have been part of our lives, and the life of our country, who have been people of faith and integrity are the heroes that God has given us. If we would honor them on this Memorial Day, we should believe as they have believed, we should live as they have lived, and we should rejoice that their memory points us to our Savior, Jesus Christ, who is our hope of eternal life.