This homily was challenging. I knew I had to talk about the upcoming election, but I wanted to talk about marriage too. This was a lesson in compromise I suppose.
This Gospel has aways bothered me, this idea that there is no giving and taking of marriage in heaven. I love my wife so very much, my life has been spent circling around her light. I know her face so much better than I know any other, her loves and her dislikes I take as my own. I experience such goodness through loving her.
Can it really be that in heaven, she will be just like everyone else to me? Does our marriage, our love, really just get deleted? I have thought long and hard on this, I’ve spent more time pondering this scripture than most others, because it seems as if some great goodness will be taken away.
But the truth is so much more beautiful. All the love, all the goodness I find in my marriage will not fade one iota, not one drop of it’s goodness will be removed. Instead, I find that I will have that same closeness with all those in heaven. Think of it, to know and be known by everyone, to see everyone’s goodness, and to have everyone see yours. The marriage feast that Christ so often talks about is OUR marriage, to him and to each other. Marriage is simply a model, a picture of what the closeness of heaven will be like. We will, in a much deeper sense, be married to everyone.
It’s a big week for America. This Tuesday, we make our four year pilgrimage to the polls to state our thoughts on our nations highest office. I’m not here to beat a political drum, you can already find that happening on every news channel and in every coffee shop across the country.
I do think this Gospel shares something important to remember as we look towards voting. I will love all those in heaven as much as I love my spouse. So now it matters how I vote, to keep those I WILL love, so deeply, in mind, to think of their well being and their safety. How deeply I will love those who now have nothing, how deeply will I love those who now are in prison, homeless on the streets, in business for themselves or are unknowingly about to die under a surgeons scalpel. I will love these people in heaven more than I love my own children now.
I can begin to love them now. Is that not the entire moral teaching of the Church, to learn to love them now? Should I not think of them now, think how they will be affected by my actions, by my vote? Do I not want life, goodness and truth for them? Do I not want them to know beauty?
Why is voting such a big deal? Every time this comes around, I look at the numbers pop up on the news in red and blue, and I can’t help but think that my vote just doesn’t mean much. I’m certain no one really cares what an obnoxious bald man from the north coast thinks about the policies and presidents of our nation. I can’t help it, it all feel so pointless.
I find solace in the scriptures. Today we read of the Maccabean revolt. A mother and her sons. Rome has come to put them down, to teach them who is master, and who slave. But these men and their mother will not bend. God comes first in all things, and as the story continues this mother watches her children taken from her one by one, but she will not back down, and encourages them to endure all for the Lord until their last breath, goading them on, to not allow themselves to sin. Death before sin.
This woman and her sons seem to know something that I think we often forget, that the politics of the day are but a passing of the seasons. She knows the real point of life, and though shaken and broken and afraid, she stands for all that is true, good and beautiful. This family will not deny God, they will not move from God one inch.
In the end, our personal vote may have no effect on how the nation swings on Tuesday, but it does have another effect, it has an effect on US. With a few moments in a cold auditorium booth, we state what we believe, what we value, what we really care about. We put our money where our mouth is. I would bet, that if I asked any of you who you voted for in previous elections, you would remember. It marked you. You decided what it was that you wanted this world to be like, and you wrote it down, you went to be counted. How did you decide then?
Did you seek good foreign policy? Economic prosperity? Did you vote because of freedoms you desired, or projects you want to see completed? Did you keep the poor in mind, did you think of how your vote would affect those who are unable to speak for themselves? Did you fight evil, did you promote good?
You are more important than the issues. I love America, I am proud to be a part of this grand experiment, but in the end, America will fade as every nation before us has. Rome will pass away, but you will not. You are eternal, and how you choose to vote shapes YOU. Choose goodness, choose beauty, choose truth. Choose life and goodness for others, others you will love with your whole heart. Choose these things even if you stand alone. Choose light no matter if you stand with other light bearers, or if you stand in the darkness. For in the end, you are not voting for the country at all, you are voting for who you really are, and what you really believe.