Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola
Leviticus 25: 1, 8-17, Matthew 14: 1-12
The whole notion of jubilee carries with it an animated and high-spirited celebration. “Let the trumpet resound… let the trumpet blast re-echo throughout the land” (Lv. 25:9). The trumpets were to be sounded on the Day of Atonement to announce the freedom won for all people by the sacrifice of the Redeemer. Through Christ’s blood, we have been set free from the domain of death, and through his resurrection, we have been granted entrance into our heavenly homeland. Let us rejoice and be glad.
This year saw the establishment of a new national holiday, Juneteenth. This holiday commemorates the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas, on June 19, 1865. Even though the Proclamation became official on January 1, 1863, the enslaved people in Texas continued to live in bondage for another two and a half years because no one had the will to sound the trumpet of freedom for them. G. K. Chesterton was on the mark when he wrote, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”
By the grace of God, each of us has received something we could never earn by ourselves – the freedom of the children of God. We need to proclaim the message of freedom. Jesus Christ became a slave so that all of us might enjoy the freedom of the Children of God. We need to clash the cymbals announcing the Good News. Jesus Christ is the conqueror of sin and death. He is the power greater than us who can restore us to sanity and wholeness. The good news is that God is ever faithful and true to his word. Because he lives, we are never alone, no matter how great our struggles may be.
The jubilee was celebrated because God set his people free from Egypt, that land of slavery. The jubilee was celebrated because God led his people to a land that flowed with milk and honey. We have been created in the image of God and made members of the Body of Christ. Like the Beloved Son, we are to do what we see the Father do. Juneteenth was celebrated because we need to set things right for all people who live in bondage. The jubilee is important because, as Saint Paul wrote: “If one member suffers, all members share in the suffering. If one member is honored, all the members share in its joy” (1 Cor. 12: 26).
“God grant that right here in America and all over this world, we will choose a way in which men will live together as brothers. A way in which the nations of the world will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. A way in which every man will respect the dignity and worth of all human personality. A way in which every nation will allow justice to run down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. A way in which men will do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God… And this is the way that will bring us once more into that society which we think of as the brotherhood of man. This will be that day when white people, colored people, whether they are brown or whether they are yellow or whether they are black, will join together and stretch out with their arms and be able to cry out: “Free at last! Free at last! Great God Almighty, we are free at last!” (Martin Luther King Jr.)