Sunday, November 4, 2012

Making an Election

Is it me or did the readings this weekend seemed so apropos of the country right now? In the first reading and the Gospel, we've got someone standing up and telling us what we need to do to have eternal life.

And seriously, haven't we been getting an inbox full of that for the last, I don't know, 6 months?  Maybe more if we live in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania. Honestly, it's been one long barrage of people standing up and telling us this is what you have to do.  And I'm not just talking about the candidates, or the pundits.  If you have Facebook, tell me your newsfeed hasn't been crawling with political stuff.  I know mine has -- some of it on dark days from me!

And it's all sort of pseudo-apocalyptic: the fate of the country/future/free world depends on this election.    Some have even taken it right to the question of our salvation: the Archbishop of Green Bay, for instance, wrote his diocese a letter last week, saying that voting Democrat "could put your soul in jeopardy." Yikes!

The whole thing can make you feel like this kid:

In the readings, though, it's not about particular issues. Jesus does not connect salvation to any pet policies; he has no stated position on Wall Street, health care or the Democrats.  No, what's required of us? To love.  To be in relationship.  To be open to the needs of others.  To be vulnerable and willing to be surprised. And not just with regard to people, but God.  It's interesting, we're not told to fear God or worship God or reverence God but to love God.  That is, to be in relationship with him. To have him as a friend.

When I look at the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, and how people are responding to it and to each other, I see what Jesus is talking about. Not condemnations but power outlets.  Not doomsday oracles to heed but couches to lie on. Not an abandonment to one's fears, but a trust and a love so radical it allows a whole hospital to mobilize to save 20 babies in the neonatal ward. (If you don't know the story of the NYU NICU unit, and the staff that carried those very fragile children down 9 flights of dark stairs, their way guided by med students and volunteers with flashlights, look it up.  It's amazing.)

I know who I'm voting for, and I bet you do, too, but today I'm also reminded that there's a lot more important and more meaningful than that.


Jason said...

The pastor at my parents' parish decided that the readings were actually about voting against abortion and contraception. True story.

Jim McDermott, S.J. said...

I love that. Love it love it love it.