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Will the Real Paul Revere
Please Stand Up?

Fr. Joseph K. Horn
St Barbara’s Parish
Santa Ana, CA

About a year ago I entertained you good people with the story of Francis Scott Key, who everybody knows wrote our national anthem, but most of you would have never guessed in a million years that Francis Scott Key professionally was not a poet, but a lawyer! Matter of fact, as you may remember, the only reason he was on that boat watching the shelling of Fort McHenry was because he was a lawyer. It really is a great story.

Here’s another true story. It’s also about a famous man in early American history. You’ve all heard of him, because when you were little, your mother or father or teacher read to you the famous poem about him, the poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the poem that begins with these immortal words:

This much we all know already. But like Francis Scott Key, Paul Revere had a profession that had nothing to do with what he became famous for. Paul Revere was not a jockey, or a blacksmith, or a farmer, or anything to do with horses. You’ll never guess who Paul Revere really was!

The answer can be found in an advertisement that he had printed in the Boston Gazette and Country Journal on August 20, 1770, five years before his famous ride. It reads as follows:

Can you believe it? Paul Revere was a dentist! Paul Revere, man of steel, disguised by day as a mild-mannered dentist! Next time you visit your dentist, look at him through squinted eyes and imagine him riding through town on a horse in the middle of the night, heroically saving America by spreading news of some invasion force! You never know; it has happened before!

Furthermore, if you are tempted to ignore the opinions of people regarding political issues because those people’s professions seem unrelated to politics... Remember this: in 1775 nobody said to Paul Revere, “What do you know, you’re a dentist; I’m going back to bed.” Respect the opinions of everybody, even ... dentists!

Finally, think about this: Jesus too was not known for what he really was. Only St Peter recognized him as the Messiah. Even today many people think of Jesus as merely some sort of historical hero, and never think of the fact that his job, the reason he came to earth, was to be Savior. Who is Jesus for you? The subject of a cool story? A loveable itinerant preacher? Or your Lord and Savior?

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