Time to renew our baptismal promises commitment

Recently the Church celebrated a unique feast. It is not a person we honored or asked prayers for, but rather a feast that commemorated the dedication of St. John Lateran in Rome, the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, the pope. 

We took time to celebrate that occasion because it reminds us of an important characteristic of our Catholic faith: unity. We are the people of God, united by the faith we profess each Sunday, united in our love of God and one another. It is a unity that is taught by our patron and one of the patrons of the Lateran, St. John the Evangelist.

The words from St. Paul that were read at Mass are particularly important for us to hear, not just the recent elections, but each day of our lives: “Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1Cor 3:16). This recent campaign can be described as vicious. Many people had strong feelings about their candidate. Many people had a sense of disenfranchisement as well. The great thing is that we live in a country where we can participate in the process and that our government changes peacefully. 

There was one thing known for sure going into this election day: that many people would be disappointed and even hurt with the results — regardless of which candidate won. That’s why St. Paul’s words are so important to us. As Catholics, our hope is in Jesus Christ and His promises. Our joy comes from the knowledge of the Resurrection and of His love for us and presence with us. Our faith must be in God and not ultimately in humanity. Human beings, even the greatest ones, will disappoint. In faith, hope and love of God we work to build a world of love and justice. 

We gather at Sunday Mass to renew our commitment to this work, to strengthen our loving bond with God and one another so that we may live life throughout the week true to ourselves. The joy and happiness we seek cannot be given to us by this world, but is found only in Jesus Christ. This relationship allows us to live in peace and joy, regardless of the outcome of an election.

I pray for president-elect Trump, that he will be open to God’s graces and, like Solomon of old, seek to have an understanding heart so that he may govern in wisdom. I pray for healing in our country, that we may recognize our fellow citizens not as problems or subhuman, but as beloved children of God. I pray for each of you — your concerns and your loved ones each day. Please pray for me.

This is not a time for us as Catholics to shake our heads and to circle the wagons. This is rather the time for us to renew our commitment to our baptismal promises. We need to engage the culture and seek to share the Gospel as the solution to our social ills. We need to encourage our young people to not be afraid to go into politics, medicine, education, etc., but rather to go into these fields armed with the Gospel and work for a world that respects the life and dignity of each human person, born and unborn, rich and poor, sick and healthy, citizen and immigrant, etc. 

Above all, to engage all those we encounter. The very same graces that led the early Church to spread the Gospel throughout the world are available to us, and we have much better means of communication. We know the problems. Let’s do something about them.

Anchor columnist Father Frederici is pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Pocasset and diocesan director of Campus Ministry and Chaplain at UMass Dartmouth and Bristol Community College.

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