I started these notes on voting and polarization about 5 weeks ago. I want to leave you with a few final thoughts as I wrap up this series. Whatever issues we talk about, whether they be moral issues like LBGTQ, abortion rights, gun control, school violence or issues like immigration, health care and refugees, we need to understand that these problems and controversies exist because we live in a fallen world. Any attempt to address them through a political process will always fall short of what is needful.
What point is there even to discuss these concerns if people have no interest in hearing the initial call of our Lord to “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand? Or, to heed the call to sell all that we have and to follow Christ and have riches in Heaven? All of the above concerns can only be properly understood in the context of following Christ and seeking His Kingdom and His righteousness. Our beliefs and values as a Church arise from this reality.
When we discuss the problems of the world as ends in themselves, I think we end up with the polarization we have today. It is not that Jesus did not see worldly concerns as of no importance. I mentioned last week that he came as a physician for those who were sick. He came to conquer sin and death and to fulfill the law of the Old Covenant.
We live now according the New Covenant our Lord instituted at the Last Supper. We live according the new commandment our Lord gave his disciples that they love one another as he has loved them. We all know this love involved voluntarily laying down His life on the Cross. He became the scandalon (“scandal” or “stumbling block”), the one who was cursed because he hung on a tree (Galatians 3:13). That curse was intended for us. But He took that curse and our sins upon Himself. This is the New Covenant of love that changes people’s hearts. It is this new commandment that leads to the new person created out of two in Ephesians 2.
My dear families and loved ones, live your lives within the liturgical rhythm of the Church. Let the Church calendar be your defining reality and not the school calendar or November 3rd. It is in the life of the Church that we can come to know the new person spoken of in Ephesians 2; where bitterness and hostility are put to an end. By living in the Church we receive a new law written in our hearts. There will be no need for government laws and policies to define what is right.
There will be no need to define parties by whether they are Christian or not. Neither party has a monopoly on Christianity. So when you vote, base your vote on the party’s platform and what the candidates say. I end with the following words from the Prophet Jeremiah:
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
The blessing of the Lord be upon you,
The unworthy Archbishop Paul