It is common to stand when the color guard passes by. Men remove their hats. Adults and children often place their right hand over their heart. This is good and shows deep respect for our Country and for those living and dead, who have helped preserve our liberty.
I thought about this again when recently witnessing the opening ceremonies of a circus. Again a color guard whose members were well past retirement age presented the colors. Everyone stood and gave the proper respect due at such a time.
As I thought about these rituals of respect we make for our flag I thought about some of the rituals in the Church.
In the Church we show reverence in special ways for our Lord and our baptism. Making the sign of the cross is a special act of reverence. We begin our prayers this way. This gesture puts things in perspective. Above all else we owe our existence, the air we breathe, and the food we eat to God. So we begin our day and all good things in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; making the sign of the cross in the name of the blessed three in One.
As we enter the Church, we dip our finger into the Holy Water and recall our baptism by making the sign of the cross. At the reading of the Gospel we sign our forehead, our lips, and our heart with the sign of the cross; invoking the Holy Spirit that we might be properly disposed to hear, receive and spread the Gospel.
When Mass is ended, we dip our finger in the Holy Water again to remember we enter the world as members of Christ's body. We become members of the family of God by baptism. We re-enter the world as members of Christ's family. We are the hands and voice and face of Jesus in the world.
To genuflect before the Tabernacle and the Altar shows reverence for the Lord. We believe that from the Altar we receive the body and blood our Lord. We wouldn't think of ignoring or taking for granted what takes place in that Holy Place on that Holy Altar.
All of these actions and gestures show deep respect and reverence for Christ who loved us and gave himself for us. We have been bought with a price; the price of our redemption being the death of Jesus on the Cross. So having a crucifix reverently displayed in the home or office testifies of our faith in Christ who died on that Cross.
I recently noticed a Baptist girl wearing a Crucifix necklace. I asked her what her Baptist friends thought about that. She smiled from ear to ear and said, "Hey, the cross doesn't mean anything if Jesus isn't on it; I'm just keeping it real!"
Gestures of respect and reverence just keep it real.