Remembering those who have given their lives in the line of duty is part of the Christian call to transform the world in unity with Christ’s death and resurrection, said the U.S. archbishop of military services.
“If one’s gaze is fixed on heaven, it is possible to walk the path of the passion and death. The message about resurrection and the return of Jesus is clear and it is a message of hope,” said Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, who heads the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services. “That is also our message today as we remember the fallen.”
He explained that Christ “does not count the cost of preparing a place for us” but instead “is everything for us: the way, the truth, and the life.”
Generous love attracts us, the archbishop said, but it also “makes us reflect, because it is costly. Today we reflect on that love in the patriotic service of so many.”
Archbishop Broglio served as principal celebrant and homilist at the 20th Annual Memorial Mass in Washington, D.C. Held May 18th at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the Mass was televised on EWTN on Memorial Day, May 26.
The Archdiocese for Military Services is responsible for the pastoral care of over 1.8 million Catholics who are members of the U.S. armed forces and their families. The archdiocese serves in 29 countries around the world at more than 200 installations.
In his homily, the archbishop reflected on the Sunday readings about Christ's work in preparing “a spiritual house,” calling “us to be the living stones that build the Church.”
God calls his people to “use many gifts to build up the Body of Christ,” Archbishop Broglio observed.
Remembering those “who have perished in the service of our Country, the Veterans, and the chaplains who have died,” he continued, is part of “our mission as living stones,” of those united with and transformed by Christ.
“Memory in the community of faith is not passive, merely a looking back, or turning the pages of a scrap book,” the archbishop explained. “It is a vibrant making present, as we do in our participation in the unique sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.”
“Our role as a community of faith is to continue to pray for those who sleep in death so that they might enjoy the fullness of life, to which we all aspire,” he said, adding that Christians also “want to offer consolation to those who lost loved ones in the tragic circumstances of war.”
This sacrifice of fallen veterans and prayer for them is one aspect in which “we are called to transform the world – families, work, society, community,” Archbishop Broglio stated, adding that the entire life of a believer should be a spiritual offering to the Lord, aimed at the broader scope of apostolic mission.
“We know that it is not always easy to live. We look for our Lady and our Lord to lead us on the way,” he said. “We seek the example of the great saints so that we can be little saints ourselves.”
“As members of the Body of Christ we are challenged to reflect the light of Christ in every time and place.”