In the Gospel of Luke in this Sunday’s readings, Jesus addresses a parable “to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.” If ever there was a recipe for addressing our Election 2016 angst – the parable of the two people at prayer is it! In the hyper-partisan divides that characterize the political scene in the U.S., there are Pharisees on every corner yet everyone seems to think they’re the tax collector.
What does it look like for us to exercise political humility? Well, for one, what if we were to presume charitably that someone has the best of reasons for voting for a different candidate than I do rather than the most sinister or misguided or ignorant? We might ask that person what their reasons are and listen, without offering immediate rebuttal or mentally preparing our counter-attack! Perhaps the person with whom I disagree has something to teach me?
The other aspect of humility is allowing ourselves, our own hearts, desires, griefs, and fears, to be exposed in prayer before Almighty God. Where do I allow myself to be challenged by Holy Scripture in the issues so central to our politics? If our politics is not challenged in some way by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Catholic social teaching, we are not paying attention! No political party, no candidate, no political ideology lines up perfectly with the Gospel.
So, as we see these two people come to pray, let’s ask God to give us humility, charity, and truthfulness. And let us remember that there is work to be done in our own hearts. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Peace and All Good,
Director, Office of Life, Justice & Peace