My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
This beautiful day we gather for this celebration of the Eucharist on Memorial Day. Memorial Day, as we know, is a day of remembrance. It is also a day to keep alive the life and memory of so many men and women who unselfishly gave their lives for their country.
So today we are remembering men and women who gave their lives for peace.
Our God, as we know, is the God of peace. And these men and women paid the ultimate price to serve God and to defend justice and to bring peace to our troubled world.
And even more than that. these brave men and women died for a vision of the world — that is a world of freedom and peace.
They gave their lives to defend the truths that our great nation holds to be self-evident. The truth that all men and women are created equal. The truth that we are all children of one God, endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights — to life, to liberty and to the pursuit of happiness.
The men and women we remember today died defending these truths. They died in fields of war for you and for me — so that we could gather on this morning in peace and in freedom.
That’s why it is always so beautiful to come together for this special celebration. It is special for all of us, just thinking of the importance of what we have in our country.
In the passage of the Gospel today, Jesus tells us: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
God wants peace for his children. And peace begins in the heart. Peace on earth begins with you and me, as St. Francis of Assisi told us.
And St. Paul tells us today: “Let the peace of Christ control your hearts.” This is a beautiful goal and he tells us today all the attitudes that make for a peaceful heart — kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness.
But then St. Paul says, “And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.”
And my brothers and sisters, in the world today, which is so complicated, words like these sound naïve. But we know they are not.
It all comes down to love. Because peace on earth begins with each one of us, all of us. And it is so important that today we reflect on that and ask for the grace to really become men and women of peace.
Because we need to build a world where it is easy for people to love. And, as I said before, it starts with us. It starts in your heart and in my heart.
Jesus said, as we all know, that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend. And then men and women that we remember today were people of great love.
So let us honor the memory of those who served by living and defending the values they died for — the values of freedom and democracy, love and service to our brothers and sisters.
And today we pray today for wisdom for our leaders and for integrity for our citizens. We pray for those who are being persecuted in different parts of the world— especially Christians in Sri Lanka and the throughout the world.
We pray for the innocent victims of terrorism and war. And we pray for a just and lasting peace — for our nation and for every other nation, through the mercy of Jesus Christ our Lord.
We also pray today for all those who are in harm’s way right now, today — in places all around the world. We pray for those who every day — both here and overseas — who are working to keep our country safe. We pray for the them and we pray for their families.
May they know and may their families know — the beautiful promise that we heard this morning, the promise of a new heaven and a new earth, when death and weeping shall be no more.
On this beautiful day when we can really give thanks to God for so many blessings, let us especially ask the intercession of Our Blessed Mother Mary, the Queen of Peace. May she comfort us and guide us as we seek to live as peacemakers and children of God.
1. Readings: Rev. 21:1-7; Col. 3:12-17; Matt. 5:1-12a.