Are the crazy Facebook posts and relentless banter getting to anyone else lately? This election has the grip of the evil one written all over it – and I’m not talking just about the candidates.
I’m seeing faithful Catholics publicly call out and tear apart faithful priests. I’m seeing friends argue immaturely back and forth like a grade school argument over who gets to be at the front of the lunch line. I’m seeing division, discord, anger, contempt, and anger.
What I am seeing very little of is true Christian charity and a sense of peace and determination among the faithful.
We all know that we must form our conscience according to the Church and vote accordingly. We also know there are candidates we simply cannot vote for as Catholics because they promote principles and morals against the faith.
Beyond that, I find it unsettling that so many faithful Catholics are at odds with each other in such vitriol ways. We are called to be active in political life and fight for morally upright laws and politicians (read Familiaris Consortio 44). I don’t downplay that one bit. But is the calling out and immature arguing achieving that goal?
The early Church suffered persecution from the government. In Acts, we read that Saul literally went door to door grabbing Christians and imprisoning them before his conversion. After his own conversion, he was also imprisoned. The disciples fought valiantly against worldly forces that sought to tear them apart. Yet lived in joy and proclaimed Christ boldly with love.
One of my favorite parts of Acts is when Philip is so on fire to spread the gospel that he follows a eunuch, preaching the Gospel to him and sharing the good news. It says he “proclaimed Jesus to him” and later as they passed by some water, the eunuch straight up says why the heck not hop in a get baptized? (Read Acts 8). Philip’s witness was so compelling it lead another to abandon everything and give his life to Christ.
I long to see that again among followers of Christ. A faithful Church that spots the lie that tells us we are each others’ enemies and boldly proclaims the good news everywhere we go – on Facebook, at dinner, at work, in the quiet of our homes. Where our lives proclaim Jesus to the people and they want more of what we have, just like the eunuch.
This election brings to light a special call for us here today. We are the Church in America of 2016 with this current election. You and I are the ones that will either go down in history as the Church that set fire to the earth like in the days of Acts or the Church that self imploded over anger, pride, and political differences. How are we to act?
For me, I look at my children and our call as a family. My first priority is to create a school of love and morality at home for my children. Every action and word of mine must be a reflection of the good news – the good news that even though this world is dark and corrupt at times, the victory as already been won in Christ. And if we run this race well on our pilgrim journey, we will be with Him again in His glory.
It compels me to take a long hard look at how I act during this election, especially on social media – the public square of our day and age. And ask myself the hard questions. Questions like: Do my actions proclaim Christ to those who see me? Am I salt for the earth? Do my words invite others into relationship with Christ or push them away?
When the election is over, we still have a job. To proclaim the good news to the ends of the earth starting within our own homes and communities. There’s a certain amount of detachment we need to start having as Christians, knowing this isn’t our home and this election doesn’t change our call to love.
I love this quote from St. Josemaria Escriva in The Forge 703: “the Lord wants his children, those of us who have received the gift of faith, to proclaim the original optimistic view of creation, the love for the world which is at the heart of the Christian message.”
The family is called to be love in the world. Do we live it?
I wonder how much we could positively impact the political sphere if we were of one heart and mind, embracing broken humanity with the love of family.
Like the eunuch that saw something in Philip that was the answer to his thirst for God, we can proclaim Jesus in our words and actions and if authentic, others will notice. The longing on their hearts will find an answer. They will see something different about us. They will notice. “Those Christians don’t fight each other. Look at how they love.“ And regardless of government elections, we can impact the culture in a radical way.
So if you’re fed up with the banter and immaturity like I am, let’s commit to be light. To speak out against true injustices, but in a way that shows Who we belong to. To treat each other as family, baptized in the same Christ, called to be his sons and daughters even if we don’t agree with each other.
Let our actions show the world and our children that the Church is alive and well and we will proclaim Jesus until our last breath. Let’s remember who the real enemy is, and fight the darkness with true Christian charity.