Luke 7:31-35 Catholics and Politics!
Jesus said to the crowds: “To what shall I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children…For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine, and you said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”
Everyone is an expert today. Everyone. There are very few professions that we still respect. And by respect, I mean those whom I trust may know more than I do with regards to a specific discipline.
Now, I still believe in experts. And I believe in them because I know I can’t be an expert in everything. I simply don’t have enough time to read up on everything.
Early this morning I came up with two professions that I thought we still respected: doctors and lawyers. But as I sit here writing this meditation, I believe I am wrong with regards to doctors. I think we go to the doctors only as a last resort. Why? Because we think we know better. So, we Google our symptoms; we self-diagnosis; we self-prescribe and then we finally go in to see the doctor. When the doctor gives us our medication, we end up not following the instructions. Why? Because we think we know better.
The same holds true for God and the Church. We are like children. And just like children, we tend to put as much trust in God and the Church as a child puts in the wisdom and experience of his/her parents. Not much.
So who do we trust? Superstars! All kinds of them too: music stars, actors and actresses, billionaires and their wives, politicians and their children.
I know this is old news but I was taken aback a little by Clint Eastwood’s off the cuff “one-liner” talk (?) or maybe discourse (?) or even "mime" a few weeks ago at the Republican National Convention. I say “one-liner” discourse because it basically consisted of a bunch of “one-liners”, or more appropriately, aphorisms. Some of which were incoherent; others which were deliberate; others that missed their point entirely; while others seemed to lead to trivialness and awkwardness. We forgave him because he was an actor without a script.
But why was he there? Was it because he's a famous actor? That’s it? So, when did he become an expert in anything other than acting?
John F. Kennedy was the first pope that American Catholics respected and listened to. When he spoke, it was infallible and ex cathedra! He could do no wrong! And when he did, we all turned the other cheek. While he was running for President, he declared to his worshipers that he would not mix his faith with his politics. The people listened, cried and then cheered! He had just declared his first dogma of faith for American liberal-Catholicism.
And the dogma stuck… up until his daughter’s day at the Democratic National Convention.
Leave it to his daughter, who continues to ride on her father’s coat-tails, to take her very own father’s dogma, of separating faith from politics, and mixing them back together again, but with a different political twist.
She was there to win the “Catholic” vote. She was there as a means to an end; to use her "Catholic" to get us to believe her "politic". Her mission was to convince Catholics that they too could be a good Catholic, like her, and also pro-choice, pro gay-marriage, pro everything-that-is-contrary-to-the-faith-handed-down-through-the-centuries. She tried to erase all doubts by letting the congregation know that this would be pleasing to the "Holy Father"…her father.
Well, the pope’s daughter spoke and everyone in Rome - I mean South Carolina - listened.
But what makes her think she is an expert in anything other than being a Kennedy and a failed politician? Could it possibly be her name? Is that it?
Now, if these individuals are the best the world has to offer me to change my mind or my positions, then I prefer to stay the course and place my trust not in the world or in a family name, but in a successor’s name: the successor of St. Peter, the Vicar of Christ. Don’t you find it childish how these individuals dismiss him or ignore him? I personally find it comforting that the Vicar of Christ is not a citizen of any nation, has no allegiance to any nation, and communicates above the fray. I find it interesting how so many people would love to convince me that he knows nothing about anything, except being wrong all the time. I find it befitting that those who criticize him the most know the least about God, Christ, the Church, the faith, history, culture, family and poverty; but know a ton about computers, economics and politics!
In today’s first reading, St. Paul writes: “When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.” In other words, when he was a child he used to think and speak as if he knew it all. St. Paul acknowledges that his childishness went well beyond his childhood years. What ended it for him was his conversion; that is, when he allowed himself to be a follower of the Lord and governed by St. Peter; when he finally realized that the Church was not a member of him but that he was a member of her.
Jesus said, “Wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”
How many people listen to Pope Benedict? Probably the same number of people who listened to Christ: very few, when compared to the general population. But wisdom is not vindicated by numbers; it is vindicated by her faithful children.
Wisdom has nothing to do with money or last names. It has everything to do with Christ and His Church.