This past Thursday, we celebrated the 243rd anniversary of the Declaration of Independence declaring our freedom as a nation and people. We are so very lucky to be living in the United States. Unabashed patriotism is appropriate for this holiday. But while we take pride in being citizens of this nation, we must not forget where our true citizenship is. As Christians, no matter what nation we live in, St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians reminds us that “Our citizenship is in heaven.” (Philippians 3:20) And that is not meant for just after we die. We are to live as citizens of heaven NOW, while we are on this earth! As citizens of heaven, we are to put the teachings of Jesus first in our lives – even when they may be in conflict with laws and policies of a particular government. God’s law is above man’s laws. As disciples of Jesus, we are sent like the 72 in today’s Gospel to bring the Good News and the core message of peace to those who don’t yet know Jesus. Luke in today’s Gospel wants to tell us that the mission of Jesus is not only carried forward by the so called experts like priests and religious, but it is the responsibility of every believer in Jesus. Jesus told his disciples to “Go and baptize all nations….” So again, our citizenship is in heaven regardless of the nation we live in. Throughout human history we have seen the rise and fall of many nations – even the greatest! The empires that once ruled the world no longer exist. So we are reminded not to put out trust in princes, but in God alone.
Let our most patriotic response this holiday be a song of thanksgiving for our opportunity to live in our great nation, not just the one on earth, but the one that will last forever……our citizenship is in heaven!
Have a blessed summer!