Monday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
November 7, 2022
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings raise and answer some powerful questions. How does faith inspire moral responsibility? What is the relationship between moral commitment and leadership? How do we measure a person’s “communal righteousness”?
Paul asks these questions with respect to bishops and presbyters, and the standards are stringent – extending even to the leader’s family.
… appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you,
on condition that a man be blameless,
married only once, with believing children
who are not accused of licentiousness or rebelliousness
In our Gospel, Jesus is direct and practical about how morally good a leader needs to be:
Jesus said to his disciples,
“Things that cause sin will inevitably occur,
but woe to the one through whom they occur.
It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck
and he be thrown into the sea
than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
Choosing leaders, trusting them, moving forward with them to a chosen future is something we do not only in our faith communities, but also in the civic arena. Even though we try mightily to separate religion and politics, these will inevitably touch because they so significantly affect the human person.
I find it interesting that these readings permeate my thoughts and prayers as many of us in the United States prepare to vote tomorrow. How might my faith direct me to choose those candidates who lead toward inclusivity, peace, mutual charity, and care for the vulnerable?
What I need as I ponder these questions is exactly what the disciples requested of Jesus. In our Gospel, Jesus instructs the disciples on sin, repentance and forgiveness — all of which we encounter within the struggling community of faith. Hearing him, the disciples immediately realize what it is they most need to engage the challenges before them:
Lord, increase our faith!
Let us join their prayer today for unity and love in our faith and civic communities.
Thought: By voting, we help answer Pope France’s prayer: