Today is Veterans Day in the US. We honor the service of all the men and women who presently serve or who have served in our military. Throughout the rest of the civilized world it is Armistice Day. Artificial Poppies are being sold everywhere around the world to celebrate the end of World War One which ended on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month in 1918.
An Australian folksinger by the name of Eric Bogle was a history buff on the First World War. He wrote the song entitled “No Mans Land” and second verse is as follows:
“Well the sun it shines down on these green fields of France
The warm wind blows gently and the red poppies dance
The trenches are vanished now under the plough
No gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing now
But here in this graveyard it is still No Man’s Land
And the countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man’s blind indifference to his fellow-man
And a whole generation that was butchered and downed.”
As we honor the service of all veterans, nurses and first-responders, we turn to today’s Gospel and ask. First who do you serve? The next question is. How can you serve someone or something unless you love them. Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Today I ask myself who do I serve in my actions and deeds. In Matthew 22: 37-40 Jesus tells we have two commandments.“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment.The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
In order to serve God or serve our fellow-man we have to love them, which leads me to another question. In order to love someone you must have a relationship with them. It is easy to say I love God, but do I really mean it when sometimes I am unfair or cruel to my fellow-man. It is an all or nothing process. One of my fellow Knights of Columbus said that it is easy to put money in a poor box and more real to volunteer at a food kitchen and see the face of God in the person who eats the food you have prepared or served.
There are some old and young who wonder if God can even love them. My pastor Msgr. Gibbons , gave me the answer a couple of weeks ago in his sermon on another subject. In 1 John 4:10-12 “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.” God loved us before we were born and continues to love us.
To truly serve God we must have a relationship with him and also our fellow-man. It is important to see the face of God in everyone we meet or come in contact with. We can have confidence in that relationship because God loved us first.
As we salute, celebrate and pray for the women and men who have served in our military, let us also celebrate our love for God and our fellow-man.
Readings Romans 16: 3-9, 16, 22-27; Psalm 125: 2-3, 4-5, 10-11; Luke 16: 9-15