October 18, 2020
Fr. John Mary’s homily discusses the issue on how we are to be good citizens IN the world without being OF the world. By putting God’s law before man’s law, we not only become good Christian citizens, but an example to others to live their lives in LOVE and TRUTH.
- There is a balance in life to maintain our obligations as a citizen and remain a child of God.
- We must recognize the difference between God’s law and the laws of the state, God’s law always takes precedence.
- Our Catholic faith helps us distinguish foundational issues (non-negotiable and can never be sacrificed) from secondary issues (important but flexible).
- Foundational issues have first priority and belong to God. Secondary issues, or prudential issues, have more than one solution.
- Through our prayers and guidance from the Holy Spirit, we can evangelize our fundamental Catholic principles to others.
- LEARN from faithful sources, LISTEN with sincerity and understanding and speak the truth in LOVE.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus gives a simple answer to a trick question, “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” Jesus is clarifying the order we need in putting first things first.
As a Catholic citizen, living in today’s world, one of our obligations when voting is to follow three main points: put God’s law above man’s law, prioritize between foundation issues and prudential, or secondary issues, and help others put first things first by following what St. Paul tells us, “speak the truth in love.” The best thing we can give to our government and others is voting with the moral clarity that our Catholic faith gives us.
Homily from Matthew 22:15-21 – Even the enemies of Jesus had to recognize that he was willing to say the truth, even the unpopular truth – tried to trap Jesus by asking if it was lawful to pay the tax to Caesar – leads us to questions as Catholic citizens – how to live in this world without being of the world – what are our obligations as a citizen and a child of God – Jesus response was simple, but wise guidance – “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God” – Jesus is clarifying the order – important especially now in the election season – Jesus is telling us it’s simple, put first things first – there is an order – three points: Put God’s law before man’s law – some issues take priority – help others put first things first –
- God’s law before man’s law – we are called to be good citizens, but we must put God first to be truly good citizens – a protection against tyranny and corruption – which always threatens human government – man’s law should be in harmony with God’s law – many early Christians were martyred because they chose to obey God’s law and not to worship the emperors – we have to recognize the difference between God’s law and laws of the state – God’s law always takes precedence if there is a conflict – St. Thomas Moore, “I died the king’s good servant, but God’s first”- he stated that he had to obey God before the king – in 20th century Christians were martyred because they refused to put the laws of atheistic communism and Nazism ahead of the laws of God – even today in our own country, Christians are facing job losses because they stand up for the Christian beliefs – we cannot give to Caesar what does not belon to Caesar – government has no right to demand our obedience or politicians to demand our votes, because for laws that promote great evil, like abortion – always put God’s law first
- Some issues have priorities – how do we know which issues have most importance – distinguish foundations issues from secondary issues – Catholic faith helps us to make this distinction – secondary issues are important like walls in a house – you can take out some walls without the house falling down – example of some foundational issues – non negotiable that can never be sacrificed – Pope Benedict said protection of human life in all its’ stages – from first moment of conception until natural death – recognition of the natural structure of a family, as a union between a man and woman and based on marriage- right to religious freedom – protection of the right of parents to educate their children – these principles are not just based on our faith as Christians, but are common to all humanity – when we vote for candidates we can’t pretend these foundational issues are on the same level as other secondary issues, like taxes, alternative energy sources – foundational issues have to have first priority, as they belong to God- secondary issues could also be called prudential issues, from the word prudence – there’s not always just one solution – example of local issue, should a piece of property be residential or commercial? – is there one Catholic answer to that question? – N0 – should a state government spend its’ money on highways, hospitals, or new universities? – is there only one Catholic answer for this position – No – there’s no automatic answer to prioritizing the federal spending on several different projects – not only one answer to healthcare policy, or environmental policy – Catholic faith teaches us help for the poor is important, but should local, state, federal, or private entities be the best, or combination of these – prudential issues are important to consider – but consider that I was voting for candidate who supports slavery and I said but I like his position on environment and healthcare – would you not say that’s not as important as slavery – shouldn’t we make that same principle about abortion? – put first things first – not all threats to human life are as severe as abortion – right to life is the condition and foundational issue for all other rights of the person – if right to life is destroyed, the person can have no other rights – foundational because of the nature of the evil involved – slavery was a big issue at a certain time – today abortion kills more than any other means – called to put first things first, put priority in our voting to foundational issues over other issues that are important but secondary
Help others to put first things first – often said don’t mix religion and politics – but we have to address these important topics – Christians were involved in the abolition of slavery – on this world mission Sunday, we are called to evangelize – part of that duty is to help our family, friends and others better understand the Catholic perspective on issues – good way to start is by explaining what we just talked about, putting priorities on the foundational issues – how do we go about fulfilling this mission – start with prayer – Holy Spirit can inspire us with the right time and ways to share this – prayer is always important and sometimes might be the only thing we can do – sometimes we can do more – many people want to make the right decision about voting but they are confused on how to do so – why wouldn’t they be confused… with what all the world is telling them – main stream media, Hollywood, big tech , facebook, twitter, schools are where people get their opinions, and most times these institutions are at best indifferent and more often hostile to Christian truths, about freedom of religion, sanctity of human life, and God’s loving plan creating us male and female, and instituting marriage and the family – studies show most influence on how people vote comes from input and advice they get from friends, colleagues – if Holy Spirit inspires and gives you an opportunity, you can evangelize in this way – three tips: learn, listen and love – learn from sources that are faithful to the truth and not just spouting opinions – sources of Catholic truth – listen and sincerely understand what they have to say, listen to them first, this gives a better idea of how to speak to them – love – St. Paul says “speak the truth in love” – sometimes it becomes more about winning an argument than sharing the truth – even worse, using it as a chance to hurt someone when they are vulnerable – a loving attitude helps to maintain the proper spirit – learn, listen, love – many people are hungry for the truth, but confused about where to find it – but you can help them – the Gospel reminds us of our call to be good Christian citizens by putting first things first – give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s – putting God before the state – putting foundational issues before prudential, secondary – especially today about the issue of abortion – and helping others to do so – giving to Caesar should mean more than just paying our taxes – best thing we can give to our government and others is voting with the moral clarity that our Catholic faith gives us – with our Blessed Mother, Seat of Wisdom, let us give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, but give to God what belongs to God.