Homily Starting points on Election themes for specific Sundays
Note: The pages below provide suggested ways in which the readings for
specific Sunday liturgies can lead us into reflections upon our political
responsibilities in the weeks immediately preceding the general elections.
23rd Sunday A
The first reading and the Gospel stress the theme of "fraternal correction,"
which is actually a spiritual work of mercy, a fruit of love (second reading).
To point out the sin of another is not to put ourselves above the other,
but rather to acknowledge that the other and we ourselves are all together bound
to follow the one universal moral law.
This, in turn, forms the basis for an objective judgment in electing our
leaders. While very many policy positions are subject to legitimate debate among
faithful Christians, there are certain stands -- such as approval of abortion,
euthanasia, and same-sex marriage -- which clearly oppose the moral law. Our
votes are another way that we exercise the role of "watchman" of which Ezekiel
24th Sunday A
The servant who was forgiven the immense debt (translated as a sum of 9
million dollars) refused to forgive his fellow servant a sum of 15 dollars. We,
of course, are that servant, and our infinite debt to God is forgiven through
the blood of Christ. Our forgiveness, then, is in response to the historical
fact of Christ's saving act.
Our response of gratitude for this, as well as our acknowledgement of His
Lordship (second reading) is expressed in many ways, among which is a
responsible participation in the leadership of our nation by voting. God's mercy
and Lordship apply not only to individuals, but also to nations, who must
25th Sunday A
We are called to live our lives in a way that reflects that "the last shall
be first and the first shall be last." As God is generous with us, opening the
door to life and salvation not based on how much we produce or measure up, but
based on His goodness, so we, as individuals and as a nation, are called to do
the same with each other.
The workers brought in at the final hour can be compared to those whom some
deem as "unworthy of life" because they are not healthy, productive, or
convenient. We either welcome them with generosity, or reject them by abortion.
Elected officials are called, like all of us, to the generosity that recognizes
that one's right to life is not subject to his or her capabilities or drawbacks.
26th Sunday A
The first reading and the Gospel stress the call to repentance, and the
second reading reveals its deepest nature. Repentance involves an interior
revolution by which we cease trying to exalt ourselves and begin living the
pattern of Christ's self-emptying, each of us putting God first and "looking to
others interests rather than his own."
One of the implications here is that when we vote, we have the common good
as a higher priority than our self-interest. We elect leaders who will
protect the vulnerable rather than make those who are secure more secure.
27th Sunday A
No particular nation or kingdom on earth is the vineyard of the Lord. Rather,
all nations are called to participate in the life of the kingdom of God, whose
cornerstone is Christ Jesus. His is "a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of
holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace" (Preface, Liturgy of
Christ the King).
Our loyalties, including our political loyalties, are always secondary to our
loyalty to Christ. Our bishops have called on God's people "to see beyond
party politics, to analyze campaign rhetoric critically, and to choose their
political leaders according to principle, not party affiliation or mere
self-interest" (1998, Living the Gospel of Life, n.34). If the party we
support takes positions contrary to the fundamental values of Christ's Kingdom,
those values must take priority.
28th Sunday A
The prophecy of Isaiah foretells the definitive destruction of death through
the Paschal Mystery. This makes us the People of Life, who stand against all
forms of violence. No act of violence takes more lives than abortion does. The
People of Life, by opposing abortion, are calling all their brothers and
sisters, starting with the most vulnerable, to the banquet of life that God has
This banquet invitation knows of no prejudice or exclusiveness. Yet laws and
Court decisions allowing abortion are a manifestation of profound prejudice
against the unborn who, according to Roe vs. Wade, are not included in the
concept of "person."
29th Sunday A
These readings put government and citizenship into perspective. We are to be
good citizens ("Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar"), and this includes
active participation in our representative form of government, including the
duty to vote.
The coin belongs to Caesar because it bears his image. What, then, belongs to
God? That which bears His image -- namely, human life! This includes
Caesar himself. Caesar must obey God. Human laws must never contradict the
Divine law. If they do, they are not laws at all. John Paul II has written,
"Laws which authorize and promote abortion and euthanasia are therefore
radically opposed not only to the good of the individual but also to the common
good; as such they are completely lacking in authentic juridical validity"
(The Gospel of Life, n. 72).
30th Sunday A
To love our neighbor as ourselves means to recognize our neighbor as a
person like ourselves...no matter how different that neighbor's age, size,
or condition of dependency. Abortion is the opposite of love. It discriminates
against and excludes our neighbor, whom Pope John Paul called "the stranger in
the womb." It fails to recognize the unborn as a person like the rest of us. It
does to them what God warns in the first reading that His people should not do
to the orphan and the widow.
Love says, "I sacrifice myself for the good of the other person." Abortion
says, "I sacrifice the other person for the good of myself." Voting for
candidates who will build a society that will protect the vulnerable and
helpless is one way that we extend our love to them.
31st Sunday A
The lesson on self-exaltation and humility in today's Gospel applies to those
we shall elect to public office this year. The first role of elected officials
is to know their place. They are servants of the people, not
masters. They are called to guard human rights, not to grant
them. They are to be advocates for the helpless, not their oppressors.
Government got "too involved" in abortion when it pretended to have the right
to deprive the unborn of personhood. Candidates who support the "right to
abortion" actually support a concept of government that sets itself above
intrinsic human rights. More is at stake here than the legality of a medical
procedure. What is at stake is whether government serves us or destroys us.