Many years ago I was invited to celebrate Mass with the Sisters of Charity (Sisters of Saint Teresa of Calcutta). On the wall of the sacristy, there was a message for visiting priests: “Celebrate this mass as if it were your first mass, your last mass, your only mass”. This message resonated deep in my heart for the meaning of each of the words.
At this point, you might be wondering why I’m sharing this with you. As we approach Independence Day, the reason is simple. I believe that life and freedom are gifts and how we live and cherish them should be in the context of these words.
First: The first time we do something – the first time we meet someone, the first time we experience freedom – is a moment of joy, excitement and wonder that makes that moment special and that we appreciate in a singular way. With routine activities over time, we begin to lose interest and cease to be amazed. Maybe it could happen with the freedom we are so used to that we could lose our appreciation of how great a gift is. We must live our present lives with the energy of our ancestors who first tasted freedom.
Last: when we are aware that this may be the last time we will see someone or the last time we will visit a place, we pay special attention to enjoy the smallest details, to enjoy the present, the opportunity to see someone or something. for once more. It’s not a pessimistic way of looking at our lives, but maybe it’s a way of contrasting how we delay events, because we believe there will always be another day. How often do we procrastinate? How many words haven’t been said because there’s always tomorrow?
We don’t need to lose things to appreciate them. As happened at the start of Covid, we don’t need to lose our freedom to appreciate the gift of freedom. Sometimes, due to our busy lives, we don’t have time to live and achieve all that we have.
One: In our lives we discover that for many things we have another opportunity, another chance; because of this, we may not always do our best from the start or try to enjoy the moment we live in. But if it’s the only opportunity, we better get it right. Each moment is unique and irreplaceable. If we realize this and live this way, then everything changes.
We are fortunate to have a country with many gifts. Let us preserve our freedom with the conviction of our ancestors and continue to work for it with all our might.
God bless America!
Father Sergio Noe Ovando is pastor of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Morgan Hill Catholic Church. Pr. Sergio was born in Argentina and worked as a priest half of his life in Europe. He obtained his doctorate at the Pontifical University Gregoriana, in Rome, and has been a priest for the last decade in the dioceses of San José. An active member of the Interfaith Alliance of the Clergy, Father Sergio can be reached at [email protected].