This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]
Saturday of the Twenty-First Week In Ordinary Time
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Jesus told his disciples this parable: “A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one – to each according to his ability…”
I believe. Faith in God demands more than lip service. Its essence goes beyond recited creeds. Like God himself, faith must reach out and touch the very heart of men. It’s goal is to imitate the life of Jesus Christ. It’s purpose is to inspire followers to decisions and actions that go beyond human reason and understanding, even human logic.
Just a few days ago, President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Ty M. Carter. He is a soldier. He is also a very religious man. His training, his love and his faith gave him the courage to jump out of his “foxhole” (a Humvee) and into the arms one of his fallen comrades. Before a packed audience of dignitaries, family members and soldiers, President Obama took to the podium and read the following statement:
Ty jumped out of bed, put on his boots and his helmet and his Kevlar vest, grabbed some ammo and he ran — into bullets coming down like rain, for a hundred meters — to resupply his comrades out in that Humvee. When they needed more, he ran back, blasted the locks off supply rooms and sprinted yet again — dodging explosions, darting between craters — back to the Humvee.
The ferocious fire forced them inside. And so it was that five American soldiers — including Ty and Specialist Stephan Mace — found themselves trapped in that Humvee, the tires flat, RPGs pouring in, peppering them with shrapnel, threatening to break through the armor of their vehicle. And, worst of all, Taliban fighters were penetrating the camp. The choice, it seemed, was simple — stay and die, or make a run for it.
So once more, Ty stepped out into the barrage, and along with Sergeant Brad Larson, he laid down fire, providing cover for the other three — including Stephan — as they dashed for safety. But in those hellish moments, one man went down, and then another. And Stephan disappeared into the dust and smoke.
Back in that Humvee, Ty and Brad held out, for hours; rolling down the window, just a crack, taking a shot, over and over; holding the line, preventing that outpost from being completely overrun. Ty would later say, “We weren’t going to surrender.” We were going to fight “to the last round.” And then they saw him — their buddy, Stephan — on the ground, wounded, about 30 yards away.
When the moment was right, Ty stepped out again and ran to Stephan, and applying a tourniquet to one of his legs, bandaging the other, tending to his wounds, grabbing a tree branch to splint his ankle. And if you are left with just one image from that day, let it be this: Ty Carter bending over, picking up Stephan Mace, cradling him in his arms, and carrying him — through all those bullets — and getting him back to that Humvee.
And then Ty stepped out again — recovering a radio, finally making contact with the rest of the troop, and they came up with a plan. As Clint Romesha and his team provided cover, these three soldiers made their escape — Ty, Brad carrying Stephan on a stretcher, through the chaos, delivering Stephan to the medics.
And the battle was still not over, so Ty returned to the fight. With much of the outpost on fire, the flames bearing down on the aid station, with so many wounded inside, Ty stepped out, one last time, exposing himself to enemy fire; grabbed a chainsaw, cut down a burning tree, saved the aid station, and helped to rally his troop as they fought, yard by yard. They pushed the enemy back. Our soldiers retook their camp.
After reading the President’s prepared remarks, it may sound to you (as it did to me at times) as if Ty had no choice in his actions: He did what he had to do. But if that were the case, then there would have been no award ceremony. Simply, another tragedy recorded in the U.S. Army war annals. But Ty had plenty of choices. And that’s what makes his story so remarkable. In fact, what makes his actions so memorable and honorable is that he went beyond the call of duty. It is Ty’s faith in the Father and the Son (our brother), that allows him to say, “We are family.”
We are family. This family is not simply based on DNA, nor is it based on survival. This family is based on love. God is love. All love comes from God, acknowledged or not. We have this love in our DNA. This love is elegantly expressed in the words and sacrifice of Jesus Christ: There’s no greater love than this: to lay down your life for another.
St. Paul tells us: “On the subject of fraternal charity you have no need for anyone to write you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another” (1Thess. 4:9-11).
The Third Servant. Like the third (and useless) servant in today’s parable, Ty could have complained to the Divine Master while he was pinned down in his Humvee. He could have whined about being worse off than all the others. He even could have refused all help (out of pride) and tried to do it alone! Instead, he asked for assistance from God and from his comrades. He rose to the occasion and became rich in love. Of course he doesn’t see himself as a hero. You would expect that from a Christian, who takes his faith seriously – in words and in deeds. He says the medal belongs to all the men who fought with him that day, including the ones who did not see the next.
Today, Ty suffers from PTSD. He suffers from this horrible condition due to the memory of those he loved and lost, and from the evil he saw.
War is Hell. (72)
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