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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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Where Does the Christian Find Home?

I can understand why, with each change in administration, many Americans become anxious and concerned.  While we place our trust in God, it is easy to worry and to feel apprehension.  God blesses his people.  However, as with Israel of old, when the people forget God, they often find themselves facing threats and enemies without divine blessing or protection. 

It is true that we are pilgrims or strangers in this world— we are people on a journey.  However, while our true home is heaven, I would take exception with those who would contend that nothing significant of our home can be found in this world.  Yes, as believers we look to Christ as our king and he tells Pilate that his kingdom is not of this world.  Otherwise, his followers would be coming to his defense.  But not long after that dark day leading to his passion and death, our resurrected Lord fully establishes his holy Church.  The mystery of the incarnation would remind us that the kingdom of God breaks into the world, first through the person of Christ and then through the Church he institutes and showers with his Holy Spirit.  A Catholic praying in a church or participating at Mass is truly home, no matter where in the world he might be.  Indeed, something of this “home” is shared by the “little church” of the family where we first learn our faith, our prayers and our values.  It is for this reason that the bishops stand up to defend the nature of marriage and the family along with the meaning of children as persons with rights (even in the womb).  While we are counted individually as citizens, it is the family that sanctifies and gives meaning to the American experiment.  We seek to be a country where basic human rights are safeguarded and where all might be free.  However, this liberty should never be derailed or corrupted as license or made absolute and exclusionary.  We are a people in community and as Americans believe that God has blessed us as a nation, not just for ourselves, but as a beacon of light for all other nations.  Patriots love their country.  This is a virtue. While nationalism would dismiss social evils and tolerate or enable sin, “my country right or wrong,” true patriotism would seek to maintain the core values of our God-given rights and values, “supporting our nation when she is right and correcting her when she is wrong.”  As with Berlin’s national hymn, we should never be ashamed to sing, “God bless America, my home sweet home. God bless America, my home sweet home.”

Ultimately, the old saying that “home is just where one hangs his hat” is untrue; rather, HOME is where one finds his HEART. We welcome the real but invisible presence of Christ in his sacrament and in our families, particular in the eyes of a beloved spouse and children. We pass on the faith to our little ones. We also hope to pass to them a country and world better than when we first entered ourselves.

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