Sunday, November 11, 2012
In hoc signo vinces (Sunday homily)
of how God overturns our value-system
just as surely as he overturned the tables laden with money
on the day he entered his own temple.
We sort things out based on rich and poor.
We care a lot about money--and power.
We just had an election in which politicians
pitted “rich” and “middle class” and “poor” against each other.
We’re told what really mattered was who gets what?
Meanwhile, voices in both parties say,
what we need to do is stop talking about protecting human life,
stop talking about protecting marriage and religious freedom,
stop talking about God’s Law.
I know we’re all tired of the election.
But there are some lessons to be learned,
and now’s the time to reflect on them.
Some of us may be thinking, “we won”; others, “we lost.”
If you think you won, what did you win?
If you think you lost, what did you lose?
One of the grave temptations we face is
to think that a show of hands decides what the truth is.
The Roman Senate, centuries ago,
had a statue of the goddess Victory--
and as more and more Romans became Christians,
they took it down.
Are we going to put it back up, and say, that’s what we seek?
Our totem is the Truth.
It’s necessary that we be involved,
and it is good to win elections, but above all, we must win hearts.
In the first reading,
the land was suffering a severe drought;
it represents the consequences of turning from God.
And the widow’s response--we’ll eat our last and give up--
is what many say today as we look at the direction of our society.
Once again, God’s values are not ours.
I can’t explain why it’s so, but I will point out that
God often seems willing to be on the “losing side”--for quite awhile.
God’s People ended up in slavery in Egypt--for 400 years.
When they got to the Promised Land,
it wasn’t long before they were in exile.
When our Lord came, people wanted him to lead an army--
to drive out the Romans.
His apostles wanted to call down fire from heaven.
He wanted nothing to do with that.
He set his face for the Cross:
a demoralizing, humiliating defeat.
On that Good Friday, on that “election day,”
the show of hands was in favor of crucifying him.
The Cross will triumph; have no doubt.