Below you will find 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.
22nd Sunday B
All three readings probe the meaning of true and pure worship, which can never be simply external observance, but must involve an adherence of mind and heart to God's commands. This adherence leads to the care of the needy, "looking after orphans and widows in their distress" (2nd reading). None are more needy in our day than the unborn. Christian service reaches out to them and their mothers. Can we say, "Lord, save us" and yet ignore their plea for us to save them?
The first reading, furthermore, shows that not only individuals, but nations, are called to be faithful to God's law. The Church does not write the laws of the nation, but proclaims the truths of God to which those laws must conform.
23rd Sunday B
Today's second reading strongly condemns favoritism, prejudice, and discrimination. Our nation's abortion policy, recently reaffirmed by the Supreme Court, is discrimination against the unborn and those in the process of birth. The Court has said, "The word person … does not include the unborn" (Roe v Wade). The Christian, on the other hand, is not free to exclude anyone from his love and concern.
Jesus, as the First reading foretells and the Gospel fulfills, makes the blind see and the deaf hear. This miracle is needed in our nation to help us again see the dignity of the youngest members of the human family.
24th Sunday B
The abortion policies of our nation embody the rejection of the cross, for which Jesus rebukes Peter in today's Gospel. The "right" to destroy even a partially born child is based on the idea that we find fulfillment by pushing others out of the way. Today's readings teach us that we find fulfillment only when we push ourselves out of the way (take up the cross) to make room for the other. Jesus says, "This is my body, given up for you" and we have life. Abortion supporters say, "This is my body, so you, the baby, must die."
The second reading shows us that it is not enough to "believe" in the right to life. We have to concretely help those who need protection. This includes being informed and active participants in our national elections.
25th Sunday B
The Gospel equates the welcoming of a child with the welcoming of Jesus, who embodies the very Kingdom of God. Abortion is exactly the opposite dynamic. Our nation's policies do not welcome the child. The Supreme Court has solidified the "right" to reject the child, even in the process of birth.
The pro-life position is the more inclusive, extending the circle of those whom we recognize as brothers and sisters and welcome into the human community. America is founded on the same ideal - that all are equal, and have the right to life. The Statue of Liberty expresses this welcome. Elected officials, therefore, have the obligation to uphold the principles of the equality of all human beings before the law. The abortion policies must therefore be changed.
26th Sunday B
The Gospel warns against scandal, which means leading others into sin.
The US Bishops have made it clear that public officials who support abortion risk the sin of scandal. They write, "We urge those Catholic officials who choose to depart from Church teaching on the inviolability of human life in their public life to consider the consequences for their own spiritual well being, as well as the scandal they risk by leading others into serious sin. We call on them to reflect on the grave contradiction of assuming public roles and presenting themselves as credible Catholics when their actions on fundamental issues of human life are not in agreement with Church teaching. No public official, especially one claiming to be a faithful and serious Catholic, can responsibly advocate for or actively support direct attacks on innocent human life" (Living the Gospel of Life, 1998, n.32).
27th Sunday B
The Gospel declares that the Kingdom of God demands openness to the children. Abortion directly contradicts this, both in national policy and personal choices.
Moreover the teachings on the unity of man and woman in today's readings are a good starting point to emphasize the Church's teachings on the dignity and equality of women. To be pro-life is to be pro-woman. We do not say that the child is more important than the mother, but that both are equal.
28th Sunday B
The prayer for wisdom (First reading) is one we should make not only for ourselves, but for our national leaders, and those who seek elected office.
Wisdom in practice is reflected in the Gospel passage. It starts with observance of the commandments, and the first one our Lord mentions is "You shall not kill." The commandments are the path to life, for individuals and nations. In our system of democracy, we the people govern the nation, and do so especially by exercising our right to vote. When we enter the voting booths, we do not cease to be Christians, exercising the wisdom God gives.
29th Sunday B
The Gospel makes it clear that the Christian is called to serve. Those in public office are also called to serve. This means taking account of the needs of all and protecting the lives of all. Abortion does exactly the opposite. It ignores the most fundamental rights of an entire segment of the public. Support for abortion cannot be reconciled with public service, and it is up to the Christian community to make this clear to the rest of the nation.
30th Sunday B
The first reading speaks of the promise of return from exile. One of the causes of the exile was the fact that God's people fell into the practice of child-sacrifice (see 2 Kings 24:3-4).
Our nation allows child sacrifice, most vividly exemplified by partial-birth abortion. Yet God gives us an opportunity to come back to him as a nation, including the mothers with child (First reading), and to see again (Gospel) the dignity of every life. Our national elections give each of us a chance to participate in bringing our nation back to moral uprightness before God.
31st Sunday B
Both the first reading and the Gospel teach us that our first allegiance is to God alone. In preparing to vote this week, therefore, we remind ourselves of what the bishops have said in their 1998 document Living the Gospel of Life: " we urge our fellow citizens 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 (n.34)."
Again, as they wrote in Faithful Citizenship (1999), "Our moral framework does not easily fit the categories of right or left, Democrat or Republican. Our responsibility is to measure every party and platform by how its agenda touches human life and dignity."