The Living Rite column explores what you will see, hear, taste, touch or smell while at church this weekend.
The second reading for this weekend comes as a “godsend” for all United States Christians as we pray and discern how to cast our votes in this major election year. As we go to the polls, we are in need of “everlasting encouragement and good hope.” We should pray that all officials elected will open their minds and hearts to “the love of the God, good deeds and good words”.
With such a powerful Scripture readings and with the election only a few days away, you may be coming to Mass thinking, “certainly this will be the weekend when priests and deacons use their homilies to finally tell us exactly which candidates, we as good Catholics, should be voting for.” Saints preserve us if that should happen.
It has been a long standing tradition of the Catholic Church to not name for whom we must vote nor which political party Catholics should join. Homilies are to break open for us the many implications of the sacred Scripture so that our conscience may be formed and developed in a manner centered on Jesus Christ and guided by the core values of our faith.
Perhaps this weekend you will hear a homily that draws from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops document entitled “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” If you have the opportunity, go to the website (www.usccb.org) and read this document before you cast your vote. This document gives us insights into examining the policies of our candidates in light of Catholic teaching. We all are imperfect people, living in an imperfect world, served by imperfect people. Whether or not the candidates of your choosing are elected, we who are named Christian through our baptism must continue to live as faithful members of Christ’s church and authentic citizens of the world.
As social media continues to sway us, as tempers continue to flair, and as our patience continues to wear thin, let us pay greater attention to “God’s platform” of the ambo where our hungry hearts can hear of his best intent for us. Listen for words of spiritual wisdom that help direct our feet upon the right path. Let us embrace the Eucharist to be the light in the midst of darkness. On Nov. 8 we will be given one opportunity to enter a voting booth, however in these days leading up to the election, let us seek out the confessional “booth” that through the sacrament of reconciliation our conscience may continue to grow in a godly way.
Most importantly, when we gather together as church, our churches are to be a holy place of peace, a place of unity, a gathering of the communion of saints, a place of civility, respect, and tolerance. If St. Paul were among us today he would tell us in our parish church there is not man or woman, servant or free, Democrat, Republican, or third party, there is only oneness in the Lord.
Zahorik is pastoral associate at Most Blessed Sacrament Parish, Oshkosh.