The Last Full Measure of Devotion

Tuesday of the 7th Week of Easter

Acts 20:17-27; John 17:1-11a

If you ever have the chance to fly in or out of Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Washington, DC, you will be treated to some of the most inspiring approach or departure scenery you will ever see from a plane: the National Mall, with the U.S. Capitol at one end and the Lincoln Memorial at the other; the museums of the Smithsonian Institution; the Washington Monument, a stark and solitary obelisk; the Jefferson Memorial; and most poignantly, on the Virginia side of the Potomac River, Arlington National Cemetery. There, in row upon row of crosses and other grave markers, lie those men and women who have served our country in the Armed Forces, including those who in President Lincoln’s words at Gettysburg, “gave the last full measure of devotion.” In the best light of history, they gave their lives for their country, its interests and ideals. We honored them this past Memorial Day Weekend.

This week as we rapidly approach Pentecost Sunday and come to the end of another Easter season, our scripture readings remind us of the call that we have as followers of Jesus to give the last full measure of our devotion to something beyond a flag or even freedom and family. St. Paul found it in his mission “to bear witness to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24). Jesus found it in his mission to glorify his Father and, in turn, to be glorified in his disciples by creating a communion of love here on earth that would, even in an imperfect way, reflect the loving communion of the Godhead—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. St. Paul gave the last full measure of his devotion in Rome. Jesus did it on the cross at Calvary. The Church, and we who are members of the body of Christ, are asked to do the same today. What will it be for you?—JC