Strive to be an agent of God’s justice

By Vinal Van Benthem | For The Compass | October 18, 2018

It is rare that the Sunday Gospel reflects the secular landscape, but when it does it can be startling. It seems that the closer we get to next month’s midterm elections the more negative the campaign is becoming. Instead of telling us about the positive things they hope to accomplish and why we should vote for them, many of the candidates are focusing their attention on how bad their opponents are and why we should not vote for them.

“Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” James and John sound a lot like someone seeking elective office — like Olivia, for instance. Olivia is running for office because she feels obligated to stand up for what is good and right. Her record at the local level is impeccable and, at least up until now, she has managed to avoid running any negative ads. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for her opponent. A naïve first-time candidate, Olivia believed the reporters when they told her that what she was saying would remain “off-the-record,” and now she finds her words are being used against her by her opponent.

Olivia really does want to sit on God’s right hand, to be an agent of God’s justice and an instrument of God’s peace, but she’s beginning to wonder if she has not asked for more than she can handle. Can she drink of the cup of slandered innocence? Is she willing to be baptized in the fire of a mudslinging campaign?

Olivia has no desire to make her “authority felt.” She only accepted the invitation to seek political office because she believed it offered her an opportunity to serve. But it’s not been an easy race and she’s beginning to wonder if she really has what it takes. When we cast our ballot next month will our vote support Olivia’s decision to run? Will we exercise our responsibility to choose someone based on the good they stand for? Or will we take the ads at face value and choose a candidate because they’re not as bad as they tell us their opponent is?

Van Benthem is a member of the Secular Franciscan Order and a longtime pastoral minister in the diocese.

Related Posts

Scroll to Top