Wisdom, Guidance, & Strength

We begin a new year and a new era in the life of our nation and our world.
 
For many Christians, beginning 2017 is a “restart moment” in our lives.  Some of the most important things – family time, prayer, personal health, even the Bible – have a chance to take a more important place in our lives. We hear again the call to “make the most important thing the most important thing.”
 
That being said, we are not only individuals, living in our own private worlds of self-improvement. We are a Church. We are a nation. Jesus has a powerful warning for us as believers and as citizens: If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. (Mark 3:24-5).
 
We have, over the past several years, progressively failed to be a nation of discernment, discussion, prayer, and civility. We have – consciously or not – allowed ourselves to be stampeded like cattle and branded with burning anger by many politicians who seek not freedom, but election. Whatever idea is put forth, whatever event takes place – even crimes and accidents – we have responded with anger. We have thrown ourselves into violence: in the streets, in the language we use on social media, newspapers, TV talk shows, and even the speeches of leaders who have been tasked to bring us together as a nation. Rash judgments, fake news, spinning and accusations abound in print and on our screens.
 
Brothers and sisters, we as Catholic Christians believe that Jesus wants unity among his people. His prayer was “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you” (John 17:21).
 
In this new year, let us ALL pray for our leaders: newly-elected, newly-appointed, or continuing in office. We are in a lifeboat together in the midst of an often hostile world, facing everything from terrorism to the tyranny of political correctness. We will not survive unless all of us pray for the very best for our leaders. They are, or soon will be, in office. Let us use the power of our prayers as Christians to ask God to help them to be truly outstanding. When we stand divided, everyone loses. It’s not about who you or I voted for. It is the time for all of us to stand together and to pray for wisdom, guidance, and strength for those who will lead us. When they succeed, we are all blessed.
 
P.S. A member of our parish, a big sports fan, was listening to one of his favorite commentators recently. He shared this with me: