September 27, 2020
Sr Phyllis Jaszkowiak
Don’t you feel, sometimes, like these two sons in the Gospel today? They say one thing and then change their minds and do the opposite. I find myself doing it a lot lately, especially in regard to the coronavirus, the violence in our city, the wildfires, the demonstrations, and the upcoming elections.
Sometimes I say ‘no’ to going to a talk or getting it on zoom, then change my mind because I need to know the information being presented. Or I say ‘yes’ I will do this thing and when the time comes my energy has waned and so I don’t do it.
The two sons just had to go to work in the vineyard for that day. So one said ‘no, I won’t’ and the other said ‘yes, sir’. They both changed their minds and did just the opposite of what they had said. The question Jesus posed was, “Who did the Father’s will?”
The question for us is: what do I need to do in order to further the reign of God in my time and place? This election gives us a chance to influence our time and place.
I listened to a webinar about Church and Politics. Bishop John Stowe, of Lexington, Kentucky, encourages our participation in politics as this is one way that our faith can make life better for everyone. We vote our values in voting for people as well as in the various measures that are on the ballot.
To vote our values we need to study the issues, study the people, study our values and make prudential judgments.
Daniel Dileo, another presenter, said our faith instills in us a deep desire to change the world. Our Spirituality is lived out through our Catholic Social Justice Teachings. He said love is political – it is serving and promoting the common good. Participation in politics is a way of loving.
Mary McGlone in her article in the National Catholic reporter quotes Fr. Bryan Massingale, an African American Priest, who says, “Pope John Paul II challenged us to “Be unconditionally pro-life”, which includes eradicating “every form of racism” from our society. Fr. Massingale explains that this implies that “you cannot vote for someone who is racist, mocks people of color, separates Latino families and consigns brown children into concentration camps, and call yourself ‘pro-life’.”
So when Jesus asks, “Who did the Father’s Will?” Can we answer, “I did”? Have we studied what and who will most serve the common good? Have we taken into account the whole range of Catholic Social Teaching from respect for life and each person from conception to death, to just and living wages, to participation in society which includes voting, to care for creation? Do we know our own values as we discern what is the better path to follow and what is the better outcome for the common good including creation itself, which sustains life?
Sometimes, following Jesus is not so simple. We do, however, have the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, to guide us if we will listen closely to what the Spirit is saying. As St. Paul says, “Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus.” Christ who ministered to the poor and the outcast, to sinners and saved alike, to the oppressed and to the oppressors, and called all to conversion of heart.
Let us, after we have given our first glib response, take the time to discern what God is calling us to do. Then be converted – that is, be in union with God, so we think, feel and act like God who is love.
Then, we vote!
Mary McGlone, Article in NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER, September 18 – October 1, 2020,