With the elections and recent protests I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised but I’ve noticed a lot of despair, as well as a lot of gloating and anger. While it is important to recognize how we emotionally respond towards one another, there are a few important discernment and thought processes to go through as Christians as we adjust to our new government leadership.
I am contemplating making the next Faith on Tap session on faithful citizenship or rather, what citizenship looks like for a Christian since we only have one King which is Christ. I can tell you as I mentioned in my last post that faithful citizenship looks forward to the common good, rejoicing in the good that is not only shared between citizens but also between nations. This is a concept known as faithful patriotism. This is in opposition to Nationalism which only celebrates the prosperity of the state above all else particularly citizens who are most vulnerable and especially all other nations; effectively treating all things as a means to an end with the end being preservation of the state at all costs. This turns the state into a false idol in place of the living God.
As Americans, despite our many differences, the Christian approach always encompasses the common good for all citizens particularly the minority and vulnerable. This most especially includes those religiously different as well as culturally different. It is critical to remember our heritage of faith and that our Lord calls us to protect the alien, the widow, and the orphan as Israel was once an alien in Egypt. Not only was Israel an alien in Egypt but Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were refugees in Egypt fleeing persecution. The Gospel of Matthew in particular is remarkable in the way that Jesus relives the life of Israel, yet succeeds where Israel failed. Finally, we cannot dismiss the very clear parable of the Good Samaritan. I recommend prayer through this parable but the essence is that even an individual from a despised class gave more care to someone robbed on the side of the road then those who considered themselves holy. As Christians we must be particularly careful in caring for Christ Jesus in the poor, in the vulnerable, in the voiceless. Surely there will be those who will say, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’”
Living in a Democracy such as ours we shouldn’t be afraid of protests, we shouldn’t be afraid of presidents, we simply shouldn’t be afraid. Human freedom and conscience, is something that not only ought to be respected but honored as we have in our society for a long time. We ought to be unabashed in our commitment to gospel values and Church teaching regardless of the political climate. Surely this was the case when Nero, one of the deadliest rulers of Rome reigned; also, it was the case during the reign of St. Louis IX of France, and it is true today. This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t support our elected officials because this is exactly what is called for, no matter who governs. It is important to keep our leaders in prayer and to continue to advocate for Gospel values. All the while we must keep in mind that our true King is Jesus and our true homeland is heaven.
 Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), Par. 1921
 Lv 19:34; Lv 19:9-10; Ex 20:20
 Mt 2:13-15
 Lk 10:25-37
 Mt 25:37-40
Husband & father of four, graduate from Quincy University and currently a grad student at Franciscan University. Director of Faith Formation & Youth Ministry for All Saints Parish since 2011.