Holy Civility

Friday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
October 21, 2022

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, having blessed and reassured the Ephesian community of the power of their Baptism, Paul instructs them in how to live a Christian life. He says that their Baptism demands a life worthy of their call.

Eph 4_2 bear with

Do you feel called? In your daily life, do you recognize the demand to witness to a graced life in the face of a sometimes ungracious world?

Paul says that’s what it’s all about:

  • the humble, gentle, patient exercise of Christian love
  • the building of inclusive community through acts of peace
  • the embrace of one God Who claims all humanity as one people

Therefore, anything that suggests hate, aggression, pride or exclusion is not worthy of our Baptismal call.

I watched – or tried not to watch – a few political ads last night. I heard the vitriolic rhetoric before I could tap the mute button. I’m probably a bit of a political pollyanna, but I can’t help thinking back to election days when I was a kid. Election Day was fun back then. OK, maybe it was in the dark ages, but you could go to the polls with an ” I Like Ike” button and not be afraid of being shot.

  •  John J Mellon

My grandfather, known to the neighbors as “The Duke”, was the Republican committee man. He always dressed like a million dollars, but on that Tuesday he was a GQ prototype. Around at the local barbershop, where the voting machines sat unwatched, Grandpop offered coffee and doughnuts to everyone, no matter what button they wore or pushed. That night, if the Republicans lost, he didn’t go out and firebomb the neighbors houses. I really liked that world. Now though my heart keeps saying, “What has happened to us?”

And then I read Paul’s admonitions on Christian responsibility.

I urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit
through the bond of peace

Even if our culture’s rampant hostility makes us sad and angry, we must respond to it with Christian courage and peace-building action. We must not become like those who stun us with their indifference to life, humanity, morality and truth. And we must never make an appeal to religion as an excuse for loveless behavior.

In our Gospel, Jesus challenges his listeners in a similar way:

Why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?

Our times will challenge our Christian character. Will we pass the test?

Prose: from “The Art of Courage” by Dorothy Day

Love and ever more love is the only solution to every problem that comes up.
If we love each other enough, we will bear with each other’s faults and burdens.
If we love enough, we are going to light that fire in the hearts of others.
And it is love that will burn out the sins and hatreds that sadden us.
It is love that will make us want to do great things for each other.
No sacrifice and no suffering will then seem too much.
My prayer from day to day is that God will so enlarge my heart
that I will see you all, and live with you all, in his love.

Plough Magazine, February 21, 2017

Music: one Bread, One Body – John Foley, SJ

7 thoughts on “Holy Civility

  1. Ruth Ayres

    In response to your heart’s question, “What has happened to us?”, I fear many have forgotten God. Some have replaced God with politicians, athletes, and celebrities of various sorts making them gods. Your work of this blog will influence many to get back to Jesus’ basic message: love one another.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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