Sunday, November 06, 2016

Just before the election...(Sunday homily)

This coming Tuesday, a lot of people will be elected to Congress, 
to our state legislature, to local offices in Shelby County, 
and the same will happen across the country. 
And, of course, someone will be chosen as President. 

As we all know, there is a tremendous amount of energy and intensity 
about this election, as there usually is, every four years.

A lot of people are really anxious 
at the thought of one or the other major party candidate winning.
Perhaps you’ve noticed, in a lot of conversations, 
folks who will emphasize how important it is that “we win.”

Here’s the thing: if you search the Scriptures,  
Is this something God talks much about?
I mean, winning in the worldly sense:
Winning battles, winning in court, or gaining political power.

Instead what you do find on nearly every page 
is God telling his servants to be faithful,
even in the face of sure defeat.
Isn’t that what happens in the first reading?

So, for those of us who have the privilege of voting, 
then certainly we must use that right well.
The main thing we must do as Christians is cast our votes, 
and raise our voices, faithful to the truth of Jesus Christ.

Be guided by your conscience – 
which must be guided and shaped by the Catholic Faith.
And when the election is over, brace yourself.
Beware the temptation to view things in terms of “win” or “lose.”

For a brief moment in time, the king in the first reading, 
and those in league with him, were riding high. 
But that moment passed; it always does. It always will.

The mother and her sons look like losers when you look at them 
through the eyes of power and politics and worldly measures. 
But when you look at things through the lens of eternity, 
everything changes.

What would it mean to look at these matters 
through the lens of the Resurrection?

It means that everything we hold onto, we will let go of. 
It means that the future is not in our hands. 
Yes, our choices matter; but our contribution is like dust on the scales 
compared to God’s power.

The heart of the king is in the hands of God; 
he can raise them up and bring them down.

God causes babies to be conceived and hearts to beat their last. 
Everyone who is riding high today will stand before God 
before very long. 

Before Mass, we met Aaron Hess, who is preparing to be a priest. 
I hope you will take a moment to greet him after Mass.

To be a priest, to be a member of a religious order 
as a brother or a sister, is to live, not for time, but for eternity. 
Otherwise, it makes no sense. 

Tell me, who is more powerful? 
A president, or an ordinary Catholic? 
Well, let’s add it up. 

A president can appoint other powerful people; 
he or she can sign or veto laws; 
she can issue orders that govern our lives; 
he can make decisions of war and peace. 

In fact, a president can do wonderful or frightening things 
to make our world better, or worse. 
So, I guess the president is more powerful, 
because none of us can do any of those things.

But anyone can, in need, pour water and say the words of Jesus, 
and create a saint in baptism. 
A priest can say three more words in confession, 
and wash away a lifetime of sin. 
There is no sin so great that cannot be absolved. 

Any believer, armed with the name of Jesus, 
can drive back the forces of hell, 
and instantly gain an audience in the throne room of heaven.

A priest can stand at the altar, 
and the altar becomes the axis of all Creation; 
and on that altar, God comes; 
God the Son offers himself, through the hands of a priest, 
to God the Father. 

So who really is more powerful? 
Those politicians, or those who pray?
It’s all a matter of how you see things.

So if this is really what we believe – and we know, it is! – 
then let’s put this to practice. 
There will be a special prayer vigil Monday night at 7 pm, 
to pray for the elections and our country. 

And remember the information in your pews 
about the program on prayer 
that we will take part in, as a parish, for Advent. 
This week and next are the time to return the forms 
so you can take part in the discussion groups. 
Our task is to grow together, not in power as the world measures, 
but as God measures. That’s the only “win” that really counts.

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