Our country is divided. Horribly divided. I’m not sure what can be done but in mass this morning I saw hope.
When we made our recent move, we also moved out of our long-time parish boundaries. We knew we had two choices in our new home: the big, established Catholic church with a school or a small country one with one of our former priests who we liked. We told ourselves we would try both and then decide.
That didn’t happen.
After attending the small, country church and hearing Father Larry’s sermon just twice, we were sold. We knew it’s where we need to be and we haven’t looked back.
Today Father Larry opened his sermon by saying “Our country is divided today. Homes and workplaces are at odds and much depends on who wins, the Cubs or the Indians.” Hah! Everyone thought he was going somewhere else with it, but by making light of it all, he brought it to light.
Yes, the World Series is dividing allegiances but as we all know, so is the presidential race. Sadly, I don’t know if anything can heal us. Then I went to mass.
In church I saw a beautiful mix of people. Men wearing suspenders and carrying red handkerchiefs in their pockets. Hispanic families filling entire pews. Retirees from the many surrounding golf course communities. Young and old. Black and white. Longhorns and Aggies. All, as the communion song reminded us, “one body.”
Funny how, when surrounded by the Word of God, we put aside our differences and worship the one God with one voice. And yet, it seems like that very worship is what’s being driven out of our schools, governments, and businesses. We can say “Seasons Greetings” and “Happy Kwanza,” but “Merry Christmas?” Nope. That might offend someone. And don’t come with your “separation of church and state” argument, which I remind you was conceived to keep the government out of churches, not vice versa.
This brings me to something else that’s always bothered me about our increasingly growing secular world. If you don’t believe in something, in this case God, how can you protest it? That would be like me protesting unicorns. “I demand all unicorns be kept out of our public schools!” Oh but wait, they don’t exist so….
Insanity. Even the devil believed in God and even rich men need God. United we stand. Divided we fall.
But the noise is deafening. Sometimes is tough to walk the walk and talk the talk when all you hear is “you’re too judgmental” or “you need to be more tolerant.” What about tolerance for your beliefs? Beliefs that have been around for thousands of years?
Last week I attended a presentation by Catholic talk show host Sheila Liaugminas. It was fabulous and all through it she urged attendees to not be ashamed of our faith but rather get out there and preach it. Spread it. Be it.
“Turning down the volume of life allows you to listen to God.”
Greater Things Today
Today’s gospel from Luke 19:1-10 asks us to be not like the hypocritical Pharisees but more like Zacchaeus, who stood his ground and gave half of all his wealth to the poor, to which Jesus replied “the Son of man has come to seek out and save what was lost.”
Let’s all pray this nation of ours that is so lost can find its way back to a greatness and goodness that only accountability and love can foster. And let’s do it together. United. As one body.