Today we celebrate our parish patron, Saint Remy.
His day actually falls on January 13,
but we’re allowed to shift the celebration to a nearby Sunday,
and that’s what we do every year.
Saint Remy – or Remigius as he would have called himself,
and that name, by the way, appears outside
on the stone up in the front wall of our church;
if you’ve never noticed, go look at it after Mass! –
lived at a time of great social and political upheaval.
So while I am not saying our situation is exactly the same,
I think he would have understood the anxieties
lots of people face right now. He is a good saint for our times.
What Remigius had to deal with was, as I say,
really worse than our situation. His world was falling apart.
And yes, I know some think that’s what you and I are facing now.
I don’t agree, but there’s no point in arguing.
If that’s what you think – or if you know people who feel that way –
then that’s where St. Remy can teach us some things.
In Bishop Remigius’ time, his homeland of Gaul – present day France –
passed from being Roman to being part of the new Frankish Kingdom.
Imagine driving through town one day,
and where the U.S. flag was flying
at the post office and the school yesterday,
a new, foreign flag has taken it’s place.
That gives you a sense of what the folks went through then,
along with war and chaos along the way.
Now here’s the point, here’s what matters: How did Bishop Remy react?
He kept his focus on his mission,
which was basically the same no matter the situation:
stay close to Jesus Christ, and be a witness to Jesus Christ!
So let’s just talk about what has so many people on edge right now.
After a long and weird battle in the courts and on Twitter,
leading to shameful events at the U.S. Capitol a couple of weeks ago,
the question of who will be our next president is settled:
it will be Joseph Biden.
It’s no secret he didn’t get many votes around here,
and the reasons are obvious:
he takes terrible positions on so many issues.
He is completely in favor of abortion on demand
and he supports the redefinition of marriage.
These positions, of course, are entirely contrary to the Catholic Faith,
in which Mr. Biden was baptized and which he still professes.
Now, I am very tempted to make some observations
about the political situation, but that will swallow up my homily,
and that’s not why I’m here.
Mr. Biden certainly wants to do some bad things,
such as providing a lot more tax money for abortion,
and that would be very bad;
but you and I won’t be silent when he tries
and I think he will have a tough fight if he goes down that road.
There’s no reason to be fatalistic and just get panicky.
Meanwhile, other people are worked up; angry; losing sleep; frightened; paralyzed.
But this is not how Remigius reacted!
Saint Remy reached out to the new arrivals, the Franks.
He befriended their leader, Clovis.
And the result is on display in this window, right by Saint Joseph:
Through the influence of his wife, St. Clotilde, and Remy,
King Clovis was baptized. That changed everything that came after.
No matter what happens, your mission and mine
fundamentally doesn’t change. We bear witness.
I don’t blame anyone for feeling badly
about the outcome of the election, but maybe it’s time to move on?
Given the challenges ahead, does it do any good to lose sleep
and get into angry conversations? How does this help?
Especially the anger? How does that help?
Here’s an idea I have. Let’s notice something:
Mr. Biden is – despite his terrible positions on several issues –
a baptized, confirmed Catholic. And he goes regularly to Mass.
He should not be receiving Holy Communion
until he repents of his stance against these teachings of the Faith,
but I am in favor of him going to Mass as often as possible; aren’t you?
Here’s something else. Notice who his patron saint is: Saint Joseph.
And what did Pope Francis do a few weeks ago?
Declare this a special Year of St. Joseph! Coincidence?
So here’s my idea. How about, starting today,
you and I beg the intercession of St. Joseph,
for our incoming president, also named Joseph?
Let’s pray for the conversion of his heart,
and for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to work powerfully in him.
Doesn’t that sound like something St. Remy would do?