Wednesday afternoon one of our community members phoned me.
She was grieving about the Presidential election results.
She was mourning
because the outcome rejected
the values she holds most dear—
the moral and social teaching of Jesus
that we try to follow here.
She is afraid of what will happen to immigrants, Muslims,
Hispanics, the disabled, LGBT folks, the poor,
those 22 million who will lose their Obamacare insurance,
African Americans, our planet.
“What can we do?” she asked.
My answer was swift and to the point: “I don't know.”
So we talked a bit.
She said that the election results
make her feel compelled to speak up
where before she stayed quiet,
whenever she encounters racist or sexist remarks.
But she doesn't want to be crude or nasty.
She wants to be loving about it.
Maybe something like a support group, she said.
A place to figure out how to respond
kindly and effectively
to inappropriate remarks and hurtful ideas.
A way to work through this period of mourning.
A means of figuring out ways
to put Catholic Social Teaching into practice
in spite of the election results.
We had such great hopes!
Too many of those hopes were dashed in Tuesday's voting.
So today we seek comfort and renewed hope
from the ancient scriptures.
We find Malachi's prophecy
that the arrogant and the evildoers
will be left without root or branch,
while the people who worship the most high God
will see justice rise like the sun.
We find Paul's encouragement to the Thessalonians
to practice self-discipline
and imitate the best in their actions.
And we find Luke having Jesus describe for his disciples
a litany of terrible events that will come
and assuring them
that not a hair on their heads will be harmed.
Their patient endurance will save them.
Because scriptures scholars say that Luke
is writing this gospel 50 or more years after Jesus died,
we know that the events have already taken place.
The disciples have already suffered the difficulties Luke describes.
Jerusalem and the temple have already been destroyed.
Luke writes this passage to show Jesus
as a “prophet mighty in word and deed”
who leads people—whose lives have lost moral direction—
back to the purpose and meaning of life.
We face an unknown future in our country.
Many people are afraid.
They are wondering what will happen to our country
now that we have elected a man who said
that Mexican immigrants are rapists and criminals,
that Muslims should be banned from entering the country,
that he would lock up his opponent after he was elected,
that he would sue the women
who accused him of sexual assault.
He ridiculed people with disabilities.
He denied climate change.
He used crude language, and he lied, over and over and over.
We heard Fr. Jim Bacik describe the candidate
as engaging in “apocalyptic messianism”—
predicting a disaster if he were not elected
and claiming that he is the only one who can save us.
We heard Pope Francis say that
“A person who thinks only about building walls,
wherever they may be, and not building bridges,
is not Christian. This is not the gospel."
In her pastoral letter this week—
the entire text of it is in today's bulletin—
Bishop Joan gave us hope
by comparing this election result
to the 2005 selection of the pope.
She wrote, “When I heard the announcement
that the new pope was Joseph Ratzinger,
I was equally as distraught as I am today.
We went through some very hard times
with the new Pope Benedict XVI.
How could we have known that Benedict would retire
and we would have a pope full of compassion for the poor? How can we today
know what tomorrow is going to bring to U.S. society?”
Bishop Joan encourages us to pray.
And she urges us to double down
on our efforts for justice and peace.
As followers of the Way of Jesus,
we cannot run away and hide from the challenges of the future.
We cannot cringe in expectation of doom.
We cannot resort to violence.
We are called to keep on living in joy and hope,
and we have reason to do so.
No matter what happens, God is in charge.
It's fitting, as we near the end of our church year,
that we find scriptures talking about the “end times”
and looking forward to the Second Coming of Christ.
It's helpful to remember what Richard Rohr said:
“The Second Coming of Christ is us.”
We are the ones who bring Christ to life again
in this world, in this time.
We are the ones called
to live in hope,
to serve one another,
to love God and neighbor.
So, while we will mourn the loss of what might have been,
we will continue to work for the poor,
to stand in solidarity with the oppressed,
and to keep on working for justice and peace.
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m./Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue
Toledo, OH 43606
Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006