Weekend Reflections for 11/11/16
This was a shocking week in the United States. After months of campaigning and national debate, Donald Trump was elected president, defeating Hillary Clinton. For many of us, this feels like an earthquake. But what kind of earthquake? Is it a disaster-- tearing down important American structures and traditions? Or is this a deep rumbling from the people-- renewing the political landscape for better forms of leadership?
In the Gospel this Sunday, Jesus speaks of "wars and insurrections, earthquakes, awesome sights and mighty signs." Is He talking about the end of time or a new beginning? Destruction or renewal? Jesus assures us, again and again, "Do not be terrified." Do not be afraid. He Himself will give us "a wisdom in speaking" that our enemies "will be powerless to resist." "Not a hair on your head will be destroyed" amidst the confusion and strife we may face.
Christ is with us today, yesterday, and forever. During Jesus' time on earth, the world was a place of calamity and disagreement, of persecutors and persecuted. In many ways, it doesn't matter who is in charge of our political systems. No matter what, we are obliged to pray for our leaders. Some of their policies will support Gospel principles, and some will not. No matter who is president, Christ is the eternal, loving King who died for us. No matter what, we are called to persevere in prayer, receive the sacraments and perform works of mercy. We must comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Some politicians are better than others, of course. But in the United States, few of our elected officials were as good as people hoped for nor as bad as people feared. None are perfect and none are perfectly wicked. As Christians, this calls us not to cynicism but to engagement; neither to elation nor despair, but to a clear-eyed trust in Him. In all of this, we look for signs of His Kingdom breaking through-- in a modern saint, a newborn child, a sunrise. We seek Him in small acts of kindness, and we serve Him in heroic acts of sacrifice. All the King's men and women must love and serve, encourage and preach, prophesy and prepare for persecution. Jesus is the Rising Sun, prophesied in the first reading. He is the "Sun of Justice with His healing rays." His Light purifies me and strengthens me, warms me and sanctifies me.
Christians run toward disasters, not away from them. There we'll find the victims; there we'll help them and serve them. There we'll clear the rubble, for those buildings were not made to last forever. There we'll find the King who is already healing the wounded and building His Kingdom.
Fr Joe Laramie SJ