Responsibilities of a believer within civil society.

Posted in politics, Uncategorized by cacina on October 20, 2008

The readings from the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time address the responsibilities of a believer within civil society.  The first reading speaks of the great king Cyrus who ruled Babylon during the exile of the Jews there.  It observes that though Cyrus possesses great powers, subdues nations, and even commands kings, Cyrus must serve the Lord of All who is greater than Cyrus is.  The gospel of this Sunday comes to us from Matthew’s hand and speaks to us about the need to be responsible members of our nation as well as responsible members of the Kingdom of God.  Jesus tells us in this Sunday’s readings that we should give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God, what belongs to God.We are nearing a national election of great consequence to the nation, as national elections typically are. Today’s readings place upon us a moral duty.  Sometimes the noise, the accusations, the finger pointing, the charges, and counter-charges may tempt us to turn the whole thing off.  But today’s readings suggest that our participation in the ordinary governance is a duty that we owe to God. A part of our debt to God is to pay our debt to the secular community in which we live.

We are called upon to think about the issues before us and pray that we may understand and behave wisely.  There are many issues before us, and no one candidate is likely to have every answer that we believe is in accord with our understanding of the duties of a baptized Christians.  Anyone who proposes to you that there is some cookie cutter answer to the great issues of the day that comes straight from God has not subjected the entirety of our problems to a subtle analysis.  No party has embraced the whole message of the gospel, and every candidate struggles, just as we struggle, to understand the demands of justice and mercy.  Each of us is likely to have to compromise on some part of what we hold dear and true to obtain the greatest benefit to the greatest number of people.

But what is clear is that the readings tell us that our duty to civil government is an obligation we assume as daughters and sons of God.  This fact calls upon us to behave responsibly as we weigh all the issues of consequence not just to our own households but the households of each and every other person in our national and local communities.  I earnestly call upon all of you to embrace this part of the mission: consider your vote and vote.  Voting is truly a godly action, one that fulfills Christ’s call to render to Caesar.

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