Praying for Those We Don't Like
Jul 26, 2019
Bishop Thomas joins us for Mass at each parish this weekend, as I've announced the last couple of weekends. Thank you, Bishop Thomas, for coming to St. Mary of the Snows and Resurrection Parishes to celebrate Mass and install me as pastor.
One of the intentions for Mass last weekend was for President Trump. Some may have had no problem with this, while some may have been upset. Politics is a sensitive subject, eliciting strong opinions. It seems that today we struggle to have civil discourse and true dialogue when we disagree about such matters. People tend to listen in order to respond; rarely will people listen in order to better understand. Perhaps worst of all, we assume the worst about people with whom we disagree. “If he really believes that, he is one of them and is a terrible person,” we may think to ourselves (and I know not everyone thinks this way).
Whether or not we like or despise, agree or disagree with elected officials, we should pray for them. St. Paul writes to Timothy, “First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:1-4).” Part of the life of a disciple is to pray for those in government, those in authority. Why is that? Those given authority to govern can often become corrupted by the allure and glamor of power. We've heard the quip, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We pray for elected officials so that they may be protected from the corrupting effects of power and that they may “be saved and come to knowledge of the truth.”
Another part of being a disciple of Christ is praying for our enemies. Jesus says in the best of all the Gospels, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44).” Each one of us probably sees some elected or government official as dangerous, treacherous, evil; in other words, while we may not consciously think of such people as enemies, we treat them as such. To allow anger and hatred toward such persons to ferment only does us harm and damage. Jesus invites us to learn to love them (willing and working for their good) and invites us to pray for them.
The life of discipleship can be demanding. Not one of us really wants to love and pray for those whom we despise, yet in doing so, we can help in making God's royal nature and His Kingdom more evident in this world. Have a great week!
Yours in Christ,