Corned Beef and the Samaritan Woman

As I write this post [March 15th] more than 80 Diocesan Bishops have granted a “Corned Beef Dispensation” for Friday, March 17th — the Feast of St. Patrick.  [By the 16th — increased to 114 Dioceses.]  Recognizing the tradition of many of the faithful enjoying food and beverage on the annual feast — which tends to fall on a Friday once each decade — and to, perhaps cause qualms of conscience, these bishops have freed Catholics from the Lenten practice of not eating meat on the Fridays of Lent.

In other words, the practice is important — the tradition is important — community customs are important ——— but, none of these are “written in stone.”  There is something beyond the practice, the tradition, community customs are important — but something must be bigger.

In the Gospel [John 4:5-42] Jesus visited with a Samaritan woman — He, a man, a Jew — visited with a woman, a Samaritan, a woman — married five times and living with a man, not her husband.  Wow — talk about breaking custom and tradition!!

The disciples were amazed that he was talking to a woman.  Yet, no one asked why he was talking with “her“.

What Jesus did was more than grant a dispensation from eating meat on a Friday in Lent. What Jesus did was to go BEYOND the social customs, to go beyond the accepted PRACTICE, to go beyond what was thought to be RIGHT —- to see a person, to see her need, to see her goodness, to see her potential.

Many of the Samaritans of the town, the scripture tells us, came to BELIEVE IN JESUS because of the WORD of this woman who testified —-somehow — in someway the power of who she was and the power of her experience caused others to see and hear beyond what people THOUGHT OF THIS WOMAN — what people believed her to be — a sinner.

Imagine if Jesus had said:  You know, I see her over there by herself.  I want to talk to her, but I am afraid of what people might think of me — for talking to her, because of what people think/know of her.

Imagine if Jesus had said — You know, I think you are valuable — your are worthwhile and I would like to spend some time with you —- BUT FIRST, YOU BETTER GET YOURSELF RIGHT WITH THE FATHER — CONFESS YOUR SIN TO THE PRIEST, DO YOUR PENANCE — and then, we will talk. 

Imagine if Jesus had said, I am sure you have a lot of good qualities — but this lifestyle you are living separates you from the body.  And BEFORE I GIVE YOU ANY WATER, you better get that annulment —- actually you might need a few annulments — and THEN, I will give you some water. 

I cannot imagine Jesus saying any of these things.

Yes, the law is important.  Order is important.  Law & Order are both important.  But, if the law is not giving life, something is wrong with the law.  Jesus — bishops who are dispensing from  Friday abstinence on St. Patrick Day — saw that the “Sabbath was made for ‘man’ and not ‘man’ for the Sabbath.”

People — Churches — that focus on Jesus — and that embody Jesus —- radiate Joy and Life.  The law doesn’t, in itself, give life or bring joy.

St. Paul [Romans 5:1-8] reminds us that we have been justified by faith [in Jesus] and not by any law.  Jesus gives us access to grace — which gives us a hope that will not disappoint.  Faith in Jesus — not adherence to the law — brings the fullness of life we so desperately crave.

In the Book of Exodus [17:3-7] the Hebrew community had not come to faith in God.  So, when things got hard, they grumbled.  The folks began to wonder if slavery would be preferable to being thirsty — if going BACK TO WHERE THEY WERE might be better than possibly dying of thirst.

For the forty days of Lent — we do what we can — THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT — UNDER THE GRACE OF GOD — to come to Jesus and to drink of the life giving water he alone can give.  We go beyond the law to the giver of the real law.  We go beyond the practice of religion — to the person we worship.  We stand in tradition in order to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.

In recent days, Cardinal Tobin of Newark, NJ stood with an immigrant who lacked legal status in our country. He went to court with a man from Mexico who came here 21 years ago seeking a better life for his family.   Cardinal Tobin “sat” with a good man offering him the love of Jesus and the hope of faith.  He went beyond what the majority of our people think is the right thing to do to do what, I believe, Jesus would have done.

I pray that the 80+ bishops who have given a dispensation from eating meat would have sat with the Samaritan woman.  I pray that my faith goes beyond the minimum and the external.  I pray that I see the good in every person and in every situation.  I pray that I not grumble with the going gets tough because I walk with the ONE who goes beyond even the laws of nature — to rise from the dead.

hjm

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Who is to blame: The woman or the serpent?

While in Washington, DC recently, I had a chance to visit an exhibit entitled, “The Art of the Q’ran.”  One part of the exhibit compared and contrasted the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden.  In the story we are familiar with, Adam and Eve lived in paradise with one commandment — do not eat of the tree in the middle of the garden.  Tempted by the serpent, the woman eats of the fruit—- from there, we know the rest of the story — Adam and Eve are banned from the garden because of what they did.  Eating of the fruit was the ORIGINAL SIN resulting in pain, suffering, work, and death for us all.  Adam and Eve bore the blame for the sin and we suffer because of it.  God does promise a Savior.

In the story in the Q’ran, there are similarities:  Adam and Eve, a garden of paradise, command not to eat of the fruit and the serpent tempting the woman.  But — from there, differences begin.  In the Q’ran, God blames the serpent and forgives Adam and Eve.  Rather than the story of Original Sin —- it becomes the story of ORIGINAL MERCY.

For me — this was “new news” — and a new insight into an old story.

The results are the same in both story — the world is broken.  Pain, suffering, and death result.  But, rather than leaving the garden shamefacedly [Genesis], Adam and Eve leave the garden lifted up and boosted by God’s love.

We have just marked the beginning of Lent — with ashes in the sign of the cross.  The ashes a reminder that we are sinner — the shape of the cross, a reminder that we have a savior.

Do we focus on our sin and the need to control ourselves?  Or, do we focus on what we can be with the power of God — with our minds and hearts aligned with the heart and mind of God?

In the Gospel [Matthew 4:1-11], Jesus faces temptation while in the desert.  He aligns himself with God, the promise of God, and the power of God.  Do we focus on — preach about — the power of temptation ——- or do we focus upon and preach about the awesome power of God and the JOY that comes when we stand with God.

Most of us would agree that Ash Wednesday is the day of the year when more people attend church than any other day of the year.  I saw an estimate that 60,000 people were present to receive ashes at St. Patrick Cathedral in New York.

Here in Lake Charles, one of our Methodist Churches offered “Ashes on the Go” at three locations — drive through ashes.  I heard of a young priest [not in Lake Charles] who began his homily by telling people that if they intended to leave after they got ashes, they should leave NOW.  If they were not going to stay for communion and the end of mass, it would be better that they leave NOW.

As a priest for so many Ash Wednesday services — I know there is frustration when people come “just for the ashes.”  But, at 67 years old — and stepping back to look from a distance — I see how inviting one approach is and how limiting is the other.

I do not reject external religious practices.  But, how do we know what is in the heart and why one is doing what they are doing?

I think of Adam and Eve leaving the garden shamefacedly and Adam and Eve leaving the garden knowing they had done wrong —- but knowing they are forgiven and ready to begin again.

Temptation is real, but temptation is not a sin.  Temptation is real and needs to be taken seriously.  But, standing with God — and supported by a community of believers [church] we can deal with any temptation and any failure of the past.

In the Q’ran’s version of the story, it seems the focus is on the mercy of God — and the presence of God — in the Genesis, we seem to see a focus on the disobedience of man/woman, their shame, and the blame put on them for the rupture of the world.

We pray: Be merciful, O lord, for we have sinned.  And God says, “turn to me with your heart.  Rend your hearts and not your garments.”

We journey dealing with a challenge to turn to God — not to please God, but to be happier people.  Sin is an empty promise.  Mercy is rich — and brings us to fullness of life.

It really does not matter if Eve is at fault — or if the serpent is at fault.  What matters is that with God, life is good and we are happy.

hjm

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The 365 gifts of a new year

The song, “Mary Did You Know?”, led to a discussion after Eucharist on Christmas Eve.  What did Mary really know?  Those of us in discussion believe that Mary knew a general “outline” of what was going to happen and who this special child was who came into her life miraculously.  But, the specifics of what was to be were revealed to her over time.  How else, we reasoned, would his “being lost” in the Temple come to her as a surprise — or the statement, “Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?”

As a new year begins, we have a general outline of what is to unfold — and even some specific events are scheduled — a trip January 4th, a wedding January 21st, another wedding February 17, a summer vacation trip July 8th, on and on and on …. but most of what is to be — is unknown to us.  And, even though there are events on the calendar, full knowledge of what is to happen at those events is yet to be revealed.

Imagine a H-U-G-E tree in your front yard — and under the tree are 365 boxes.  All the boxes are wrapped well — some better than others, but all are well wrapped.  The boxes are of different sizes and shapes — adding to the mystery of what is within.  For, we all know that a small box might actually contain a more valuable present than a much larger box.

Well, think of the tree as the year 2017.  And the boxes under the tree are the 365 days of the year.  As a new year begins — that is what is before us — 365 gifts.

There is a clear reminder to us though — we can only open one box per day — and the box to be opened must be the box prescribed for that day.  It is not fair — or possible — to try and open July 2nd on January 2nd — July 2nd must be opened on July 2nd — no matter how tempting it might be to jump ahead.  What is prescribed for that day, must be lived that day —- for on the 8th day following his birth, as was prescribed by the law, the child Jesus was circumcised.

Mary — the mother of God — allowed life to unfold before her — treasuring in her heart, pondering in her heart and mind — with faith — what was happening around her.

Hopefully we will be blessed to open all 365 gifts in front of us in this new year.  We are taught early on in life that we should “live one day at a time” — and in reality, that is all we can do.  What we choose — is to live it fully, half-heartedly, or with barely interest.  We can choose to ignore the gift in front of us — and to waste it carelessly.

In faith, I trust that that what the Lord said to Moses is true for you and for me:

The Lord will bless us and keep us.

The Lord will let his face shine upon us.

The Lord will be gracious to us.

The Lord will look upon us kindly and give us peace.

We can look to the Lord everyday and call out “Abba” — father.  For, we are sons and daughters of a loving God — not a slave to a tyrant god.

Regardless of what has happened in 2016, God — Emmanuel — has been with each of us and has brought us to this place and to this time.

As 2017 unfolds — see the gift of today and the hope for tomorrow.  See those 365 boxes under the tree and treasure each and everyone of them.

hjm

 

 

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“With Child”

As foretold by the Prophet Isaiah [7:1014], the “virgin shall conceive and bear a son,” . . . as a sign that God is present and attentive.  The Gospel [Matthew 1:18-24] proclaims the news — carried by an angel — to Joseph that it was by the Holy Spirit that Mary had conceived a child — and will bear a Son, Jesus, our savior — and God present among us.

Over the past days we have celebrated the Feasts of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe.  We have reflected upon Mary, favored by God, and the means by which God has come into our world and our lives.  Mary, a willing servant, an instrument of God — allowed herself to be “used” for good, the greatest good.

And, while we in faith reiterate our faith in God and our admiration for Mary as a faithful servant — let us also hear the message of the angel spoken to each of us — each of us is “with child” — each and everyone of us is being called to bear fruit, and to bring new life into the world.

The days of 2016 are fewer and fewer — and while there no doubt will be surprises and the need for us to act kindly and lovingly — the opportunities to initiate good and to deliberately set a life giving course are drawing to an end for this year.

But soon, a new year will begin — and within each of us are possibilities to show that God is with us — there is a call from within to save myself and those around me from sin — the diminishment of life.

It matters not whether one is 27, 47, or 67 — it matters not whether is male or female — it matters not whether one is married or not —- each of us is capable of being good and doing good.  We have the chance to make the world around us a better place.

We all know that holidays like Christmas are quite different when a child is present.  We have seen over and over that when a couple welcome a child into their home — when grandparents care for a child and guests come over — conversation and discussion shift to the child in the midst of everyone.  We are in awe of the beauty of a child — and the miracle unfolding before us.

God is not finished with me yet ….. and I am quite sure, not finished with you, either.  There is a story to be told, a work to be done, an effort to be exerted.  There is a child within me and within you —- there is new life yet to be born.

As I moved from parish ministry to community ministry — especially with the students in charter schools, some called it my “encore career” — I see it now as “new Life” bursting forth.

The angel said to Joseph, “do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home … for she will bear a son.”  So, too does God say to me — do not be afraid to take _________into your home — for this is what I see is to happen.

It might be quite clear to me — to you — what this new task, this new challenge is.  Perhaps — it is not so clear or completely unknown.

This past week, the story of a Santa Claus in Knoxville, TN has gone viral on social media.  This Santa received a call from a nurse in a hospital where a young child was soon to die.  The child wanted to see Santa Clause.  The nurse called — Santa came with a toy.  Santa told the young boy, that he was Santa’s # 1 elf.  The boy was barely able to hold the toy — smiled — and died in the arms of Santa.

Santa Claus could have found many reasons not to go — maybe the child would be afraid.  Maybe Santa would not know what to say.  Maybe it would make everyone sad.  But he went — and everyone was changed — the boy, Santa, and those who watched from the hallway. New Life and a new light shined in a place of darkness.  The goodness within this Santa came forth in visible, tangible form.

Within us all is new life — let us not be afraid of what is asking of us.  Let us not be afraid to take on what we do not understand.  The sign that God is with us still is that good people, good ol’ ordinary men and women — do the work of God — they bear Jesus into the world over and over and over again.

hjm

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A smaller church? Likely. A holier church? Depends on who is the judge!

I am going to reflect on repentance — and on what it means to repent.  But first ….

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia gave a presentation on October 20, 2016 at Notre Dame University.  I read the entire six page transcript.  On the WHOLE, it was a good, inspiring speech … in my opinion.  He spoke about fidelity, courage, and commitment.  As a speech, it merits reflection — and a grade of A….again, in my opinion.

What garnered most of the media attention was a section of the speech in which he applied principles to the living of the faith.  In particular, his comments reflected his belief that our Church [the Roman Church] would become a smaller church in the future … and at the same time, a holier Church.  Here is what he actually said:

Obviously we need to do everything we can to bring tepid Catholics back to active life in the Church.

But we should never be afraid of a smaller, lighter church if her members are also more faithful, more zealous, more missionary and more committed to holiness.

Losing people who are members of the church in name only is an imaginary loss.  It may in fact be more honest for those who leave and healthier for those who stay.  We should be focused on commitment, not numbers or institutional throw-weight.

Archbishop Chaput reflected on the threat posed by what he said was a secularizing culture and a progressive political agenda that “bleaches out strong religious convictions in the name of liberal tolerance.”

Archbishop Chaput is part of what is often referred to as the “cultural warrior” wing of bishops, i.e. those who see the Church at war with the world and what they consider to be a secularizing sector of tolerance, which they see as weakness.  Perhaps these bishops make up about 50% of the Church’s ordained leadership today.

Whether one looks at data from groups like the Pew Research or Gallup surveys — or looks at data collected by most dioceses each year when they take a worship census … that is how many people worship over a 4-5 week period each year … attendance is down and continues to decrease each year.  Some parishes show dramatic losses — often dependent on the priestly leadership, message preached, and style of worship.  Other parishes show increases — based on the same standards — priestly leadership, message preached, and style of worship.

I have NO DOUBT that the number of people who worship regularly will continue to decrease.  The Roman Catholic Church will get smaller and smaller.  Perhaps the same is true for other denominations — you tell me.

But — will it be holier???????  Depends on the standard by which we judge.

I believe no man on earth can be the true judge of who is holy.  I believe that God alone judges holiness.  And no one can see in the heart of another.

If the standard by which holiness is judged is the parable of the separation of sheep and goats — then that is one standard of holiness.  In a similar way, the commandment to love God above all and neighbor as self is the standard — we can sense one form of holiness.  If the person who gives a cup of cold water to the least of all — is seen as holy, then we have another view of holiness.

On the other hand — if holiness is determined by how one dresses for worship — how one holds his/her hands, if one goes to mass every week —- if communion is taken on the tongue instead of the hand — then we have another standard of holiness.  If a holy, good priest is one who promotes 40 hour devotions and spends hours in the confessional, that is one standard of judgment.

I believe 100% that abortion is wrong — it is the taking of innocent life.  I also believe that if EVERYONE who is against abortion would be for adoption — and HAD SIGNED UP TO ADOPT A CHILD — there would be fewer abortions.  While many people wait for infants, there are not too many people —- Catholics included — ready to adopt 2, 3, 4 year olds — or teenagers — or children with special needs.

As one who works in the court system — I know that children are placed in foster care, in care of the State, because there are not enough PRO-LIFE homes to adopt them.

In his address, Archbishop Chaput spoke of his admiration for Muslim women who wore a hijab or the burka in public.   He saw this as a commitment to faith and public witness.  This may be true — but not always.  What if the woman wore the burka only because she feared her husband’s wrath?  What if she bore resentment against a dominant male society that restricts women’s rights to education — or even to drive?  How holy would that be?

What about the Archbishop of a huge diocese —- who wears French cuffs and likes the mass in Latin — who has a $500,000 ADDITION made to his weekend home — so that it would be ready for retirement —- is that holy?

BEFORE WE SPEAK ABOUT REPENTANCE, we need to recognize what is it that we see as holy.  To repent means to turn from sin and to turn to good.  To repent is to walk out of the darkness into the light.  To repent is to heal the break in our relationship with God.  To repent — is to turn from ________ and to turn to ___________.

What is it that excludes one from the ONE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH?  birth control? being gay?  living in a gay relationship?  divorced and remarried without an annulment? drug use? internet porn?  cheating on taxes?  missing mass? using drugs? is it disagreeing with a teaching of the hierarchy?

Can one be part of the ONE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH and support the trillion dollar program to build the F-35 fighter bomber?  can one be holy and at the same time pay slave wages to their workers —- while looking down on the immigrant worker hired to clean their yard/pool?  what about the FACT that too many Black children cannot go to Catholic schools because they cannot afford tuition?

Who is any man or woman, bishop or archbishop —- to say who is holy and who is not?

In the Gospel of Matthew [3:1-12] John the Baptist preached in the desert saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  He went on to say,

Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.  And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’  For I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.  Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees.  Therefore, every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

Bear fruit …. produce good fruit.  This is the evidence of holiness God seems to desire.

When Jesus asked Peter if he loved HIM, Jesus went on to say — feed my sheep — tend my lambs.

It seems to me, that the leadership of the Church in America is too quick to blame the declining number of worshipers on secularization — a failure of parents to teach the faith to their children — a hedonistic society — giving in to self-satisfaction — the glamorization of sex.  Maybe this is true.

What do those who favor dogmatic orthodoxy think about Jesus eating with sinners, going to the home of a tax collector, spending time with the woman at the well?  How would they translate Jesus teaching of “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

Perhaps, though — there are other reasons why people are not going to church with the same frequency as the past.   Like — a holier than thou clericalized leadership which sees itself as better than the people they are called to SERVE.  Maybe it is a leadership who has no understanding that the spirit is given to all in baptism.  The Spirit is given to the CHURCH AS A WHOLE for the guidance of all in the Church — lay and ordained.

I am called during this second week of Advent to repent — the same call is given to Pope Francis, to all the Cardinals and Bishops, and to each person on earth — people of faith and no faith.  None of us is worthy for the Lord to come under our roof …. but we pray that the Lord will “say but the word and our soul will be healed.”  We are all called to repentance…… proven by good fruit.

I must leave behind all that is not loving, caring, just.  I must become more loving, more caring, more just.  I must build relationships and not walls.  Finding common ground is not the same as being wishy-washy or indifferent.

I will not judge your holiness.  I ask you not to judge my holiness.  There is only one who will judge.  God.  And, I am not God — and neither are you.

hjm

 

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Thankful for Advent

With Thanksgiving celebrated, we realize the new month of December is before us.

With it getting dark sooner, our days seem to wind down earlier.

Mall décor has long told us that the seasons are changing.

Some people are “X-ing days off on the calendar” until Christmas — some have Advent Calendars with a special scripture for each day.

In faith, we have a chance to slow things down — to keep things in perspective — to focus on what is important, to create a sense of peace — to welcome Emmanuel into our world and our personal lives anew.

I AM THANKFUL FOR ADVENT.

I am thankful that we have a full four weeks to welcome greater light and life in places of darkness and death.  We have a chance to prepare a way for the Lord.  We have a time to hear the message God has prepared for our heart.

This is the hour to awake from “sleep” [Romans 13: 11-14] and to open our eyes to the beauty of the world around us —- and the life we share with others.  It is time for us to put on an armor of light — and to be a light of hope for those who walk in darkness.  Regardless of what others do, it is time for us to act appropriately.

I AM THANKFUL FOR ADVENT

We have a significant period of time to accept things that we are finding it difficult to accept.  We have time to come to peace with what is, so that when Christmas comes, we can sing, “Joy to the World” and mean it.  Maybe there is something going on within our family that needs to be seen in a different light — because I am powerless to change things.  Maybe there is need to accept the results of the recent elections — and to do the best we can with what will be.  We light one candle, then two, then three — slowly going from where we are to where we can be.

I AM THANKFUL FOR ADVENT

Now is the time to get PREPARED and to be PREPARED for the unknown hour before us.  We want to be mentally, spiritually, physically, financially prepared for what is before us.  Life is full of surprises — thankfully more good than bad.  We never want to have to say, “If only I knew, I would have ….”    This could be the time to get that overdue physical exam.  Now could be the time to make an appointment with an attorney and write that Will that we know we need to prepare.  Now might be the time to meet with that financial planner to set things up for retirement.

Now might be the time to go to confession and to unburden ourselves of something we have carried around too long —- why haul that stuff into 2017?  Now could be the time to turn off the news and to pray for the people in our family, to pray for our nation, to pray for courage.

Yes, I AM THANKFUL FOR THIS HOLY SEASON OF ADVENT.

Come, Lord Jesus.  Be born anew within my heart, within my family, within my world.  Help me, Lord Jesus, to hear the message you are sending to me.  Help me to always speak the truth, to be a messenger of peace.  May I never be the source of tension or division — but of unity and peace.  May I turn from wrongdoing — and turn to doing the best I can … one day at a time.

hjm

 

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Don’t gloat — Don’t despair

On Nov. 8th, 59+ million Americans voted for Secretary Hillary Clinton.

On Nov. 8th, 59+ million Americans voted for President-elect Donald Trump.

To put these numbers in perspective — with 4.5 million people in Louisiana, that would mean that more than 12 Louisiana’s voted for Ms. Clinton and more than 12 Louisiana’s voted for Mr. Trump.

Several weeks ago, in a Blog entitled “Nov. 9th” I speculated that on the day after the election the sun would rise in the east and set in the west and that the earth would continue to journey around the sun on its prescribed orbit.  I was correct.

And now …. and now …. what is next, what do we do?

President Obama and Ms. Clinton set the tone on Wednesday.  Obviously disappointed, obviously surprised —- both promised cooperation and a smooth transition of power — and this transition of power in a smooth way is a hallmark of our society and our history.

For me, the divisions in our nation — perhaps unseen, but not hidden — for decades have been brought to the light.  Again, 59 million v. 59 million.

Ms. Clinton won the popular vote and Mr. Trump won the electoral vote.  Division.

52% of Catholics voted for Mr. Trump.  48% of Catholics voted for Ms. Clinton.  Division.

But the divisions are there among people of different educational levels, income levels, genders, races, religions, sexual orientation, —- in ways more than I know.

Over the past two weeks, our local paper published “letters to the editor” from people talking about how a good Catholic should vote — or how a Christian should vote.  Divisions were highlighted among people of faith….especially around the subject of abortion.  Evidence of division.

Today —- this day — I heard from an employer who had a Hispanic employee tell him that her husband had been “harassed on his job” by people telling him he needed to get ready to go back to Mexico.  I read a FB post from a mature young, Black woman sharing her fear — by recalling days when she was followed around a store at the Mall when her White classmates were not.  I hear a young father tell me about his son asking if his friend who is a Muslim would have to move.  THIS IS REAL …. right in Lake Charles, LA.

I encourage those who voted for Mr. Trump to celebrate — but not to gloat or rub salt in the wounds opened by the campaign.  We are a divided nation that says, “one nation under God” each time we pledge allegiance to the flag.  Let’s not see more tensions created by yelling, braggards.  Let’s not see  a smoldering fire fanned into flames.

As an American, Mr. Trump is THE PRESIDENT-ELECT of my country.  Mr. Trump is my President.

I encourage those who voted for Ms. Clinton to be sad, to grieve —- but not to despair or to fight in the streets.  We are a divided nation that says, “one nation under God” each time we pledge allegiance to the flag.  Lets not see more tensions created by yelling insults and predictions of apocalypse.

We worship a God, who says  —– Be still and know that I am God.  We will soon proclaim that Christ is King — that no earthly leader or political party or political philosophy will save us.  We renew our faith in an ever present God who loves us all —- and who says that the test of our faith is NOT WHO WE VOTED FOR ….. but how we show our love for another.  It is not about what we say —- it is about what we do.

One nation under God — or a divided nation under God?

On election day I helped to host a luncheon for the International Students attending our Charter High School and their host parents —- 3 students from Thailand, one from Germany, one from Serbia, one from Spain, one from the Czech Republic, one from South Korea, one from Colombia, one from Spain, one from Taiwan, one from China.  They looked “different”, they sounded “different” —- but all had dreams of a better tomorrow.  These students are the children of someone — they are here entrusted to us for education and protection.  I feel responsible for them.  My faith and my duty compel me to support them and care for them.

And in the same way —- there are people in my town, your town — entrusted to me, to you by God for education, protection, health care —— an OPPORTUNITY for a better tomorrow.

As Christians — we are taught and challenged that we show our faith, “by the way we love one another.”  THEY will know we are Christians —- by our love, by our love.

I voted for Ms. Clinton.  The American people “spoke” otherwise.  I have friends and family members who voted differently than me.  After a campaign that focused too much on personalities and NOT ENOUGH on issues, I must let these differences dissipate and move forward.

Malachi [3:19-20] tells us that the proud and the evildoers will be stubble.  For those who fear the Lord, the SUN OF JUSTICE WILL COME FORTH and bring healing rays.

Luke [21:5-19] reminds us that everything of this earth —- even political parties — will one day disappear.  In the midst of wrangling and fighting — not a hair of our heads will be harmed —– if we are faithful to God —– AS WE HEAR GOD.

I will stay away from FB for weeks to come.  I will watch 30 minutes of the news in the morning and 30 minutes of news in the evening.  I will read our local paper.

In a few days I will not spend much time talking about the election or worrying about what is happening in Washington.

I will spend my time and my money on things that are important to me.  I will pray daily and share Eucharist weekly.  I will make a difference where I can —- and move on where my talents are not appreciated.

The Lord has come to rule with justice —- if we act with justice.  The Lord comes to rule the earth.

There is no reason to gloat —- there is no reason to fear.  Human beings have cast votes.  A human being has been elected President.  We pray for our President and those who will work with him and for us.

We will influence the system as we can — realizing more than ever the diversity within our nation, the flawed human system, and the omnipotence of God.    Let us persevere in faith — and thus, we will be saved from harm and for the world to come.

hjm

 

 

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