A Message from Our Pastor
Fr. Peter M. Escalante’s Homily after the 2016 Election
I think it is safe to say that about this time last week, most if not all of us were looking forward to November 8 and to the Election. Clearly the election of a new President took center stage. But we were looking forward to the Election, mostly because we knew it would all soon be over. To say that we had reached our saturation point is an understatement. We just wanted it to be over and done with. And yet there has been just as much if not more conversation about the Election this week then there was leading up to it. As your pastor, I feel that I have a responsibility to you to comment briefly because what has transpired this week has weighed heavily upon our hearts. It would be to pretend that the elephant in the room doesn’t exist, to do otherwise. I am not a political scientist, nor a theologian; I am a parish priest, a pastor and an American citizen. I love our country and Church and you.
The campaigns that were conducted by the man and woman who were running for the highest, most distinguished office in our land, if not the world, were an embarrassment, to say the least. No matter who you supported, it was difficult to be outwardly proud of either candidate nor accepting of the way they conducted themselves. And while we may support particular points from their respective platforms, it was difficult to overlook their lack of dignity and decency. We would not allow our children to speak or behave in such a manner.
Just as an aside, did you notice that there were no bumper stickers on cars during this campaign? It appears that no one wanted to publicly display their opinion. We feared confrontation, ridicule or maybe even retaliation.
Most Catholic voters felt deeply compromised. Neither candidate reflected Christian morals and values authentically. And so we had to choose according to our own, hopefully well formed, conscience.
Each election year we have no idea who the next person will be who will sit in the highest office in our land. What we do know however, is who is King and who sits on the throne. And that is Jesus Christ. And as His followers we are called to love others, not matter what their race, color or creed. And don’t forget, the Sacred Scriptures also implore us to pray for our leaders. I always have and I will continue to do so.
As people of faith, we cannot help but bring God into the equation. Where is God in the midst of all of this? The future of the Supreme Court and the sanctity of life took a giant step forward. How profoundly providential. This will be the foundation upon which the sanctity and reverence for all people can be built. So everyone, all of our citizens, are respected and protected, all those who live in our neighborhoods, those who attend our schools and share our workplaces. We and they are all God’s children.
Many people this week feel as though they have been disenfranchised and are now living in fear. Well, let us not forget that it was the disenfranchised that Jesus reached out to most compassionately: the widow, the orphan, the alien, the abandoned, the lowly, the beggars, those who caused scandal, even those who were public sinners. And even among His closer circle of friends, Jesus demonstrated even greater acceptance and understanding, like when James and John argued over position, how He reached out to Zacchaeus who grew fat through corruption and greed, or St. Paul who made sport of killing Christians, Thomas who doubted Him, Peter who denied Him. Not one of them lived perfect, sinless lives and neither have any one of us. And so we must resist the temptation of growing righteous or intolerant or exclusive or entitled, if we are to wear the mantle of Christ.
Many of the decisions to be made in the days ahead are out of our hands. We cannot undo the outcome of the Election. But we can do our part in our small circles of influence. There has been a lot of conversation during the past five days. Some of it positive and hopeful. Some of it angry and disheartened. Some of it just venting. And some of it just plain fruitless. We will not help to heal the wounds and the division that exists by perpetuating negative talk, destructive conversations or inflammatory commentaries. What we can do is be a better neighbor, a better co-worker, a better citizen, a better person, a better Christian. While we strive to make America great again, let us also strive to make America kind again.
Most importantly, let us all pray. Pray that there will be more graciousness and a difference between the man who will soon become President and the man who campaigned for President. Pray also for your children and grandchildren. They need to be talked to and listen to more than ever. And need to be hugged more than ever.