Government


Government - Pope Francis    

16.09.13  Holy Mass   Santa Marta   Luke 7: 1-10


Two attitudes of a ruler. Before all else he must “love his people. The elderly Jews say to Jesus: he deserves what he asks for because he loves our people. A ruler who does not love cannot govern. At most he can only make a bit of order, but he cannot govern”. David who disobeyed the rules of the census, sanctioned by Mosaic law, in order to emphasize that every man's life belongs to the Lord (cf. Ex 30:11-12). When David understood his sin, he did everything he could to avoid his people being punished. This is because, in spite of being a sinner, he loved his people.

A ruler must also be humble like the centurion in the Gospel, who could have boasted of his power to get Jesus to come to him, but he “was a humble man and instead said to the Lord: do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. With humility he said: speak a word, and my servant will be healed. These are the two virtues of a ruler, and this is what the Word of God inspires in us: to love the people and to have humility”.

Thus “every man and woman who assume the responsibility of governing should ask themselves these two questions: Do I love my people, so that I may better serve them? And am I humble enough to hear the opinions of others so as to choose the best way of governing?”. If they , “do not ask themselves these questions, they will not govern well”.

Even those governed must make the choices. So what should you do? Timothy (2:1-8): “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way”.

This means that “not one of us can say: this doesn't affect me, they are the ones who govern. No, I too am responsible for the way they govern and I must do what I can to help them govern well, by participating in
politics when I can. Politics, according to the Social Doctrine of the Church , is one of the highest forms of charity, because it serves the common good.

Television and newspapers rely primarily on “abusing” politicians. There is hardly anyone reporting that “this ruler has done well in this, and this ruler has this virtue. He was wrong in this... but in this he did well”. Instead, all that you hear about politicians is that they are “always wrong and are always against you. Perhaps the ruler is a sinner, as David was. I have to work with others, with my opinion, with my words, to help amend: I do not agree for this reason or for that. We need to participate for the common good. Sometimes we hear: a good Catholic is not interested in politics. This is not true: good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by offering the best of themselves so that the ruler can govern”.

What then is the best thing that we can offer rulers? “It is prayer”. It is like Paul says: prayer for kings and for all those who have power”. “A Christian who does not pray for rulers is not a good Christian. We need to pray.

“Let us pray for rulers”, that they govern us well. That they bring our homeland, our nations, our world, forward, to achieve peace and the common good. The Word of God helps us to better participate in the common life of a people: those who govern, with the service of humility and love, and the governed, with participation, and especially prayer.


Pope Francis    08.11.18    Holy Mass  Santa Marta     Luke 15: 1-19
https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope-francis/mass-casa-santa-marta/2018-11/pope-francis-homily-daily-mass-witness-complaining-questions.html

Witness, complaining, questions.

The first word, then, is the “
witness” of Jesus, which, was a new thing for the time, because going to sinners made you unclean, like touching a leper. For this reason, the doctors of the law kept away from them. Bearing witness has never been a convenient thing, either for the witnesses – who often paid with martyrdom – or for the powerful.

Bearing witness is breaking a habit, a way of being… Breaking it for the better, changing it. For this reason, the Church advances through witness. What is attractive [to people] is the witness. Not the words, which help, yes; but witness is what is attractive, and what makes the Church grow. It is a new thing, but not entirely new, because the mercy of God was also there in the Old Testament. They, these doctors of the law, never understood the meaning of the words: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ They had read about mercy, but they had not understood what it was. And Jesus, with His way of acting, proclaimed this mercy with His witness.

Witness, always breaks a habit, and also puts you at risk.

In fact, Jesus’ witness caused people to murmur. The Pharisees, the scribes, the doctors of the law
complained about Him, saying, “He welcomes sinners, and eats with them.” They did not say, “Look, this man seems to be good because he seeks to convert sinners.” This, is an attitude that consists in always making negative comments “to destroy the one bearing witness.” This sin of complaining about others, is a part of daily life, in big and small ways. In our own lives, we can find ourselves murmuring “because we don’t like something or other”; and instead of dialoguing, or trying to resolve a conflict situation, we secretly complain, always in a low voice, because there is no courage to speak clearly.

And so it happens, even in smaller societies, “in parishes.” How often is there murmuring in parishes?” Whenever I don’t like the testimony, or there is a person that I don’t like, murmuring immediately breaks out.

And in dioceses? ‘Infra-diocesan’ conflicts… Internal conflict within the diocese. You know this. And also in
politics. And this is bad. When a government is not honest, it seeks to soil its opponents with murmuring. There’s always defamation, slander, always looking for something [to criticize]. And you know dictatorial governments well, because you have experienced it. What makes a dictatorial government? Taking control first of the means of communication with a law, and from there, it begins to murmur, to belittle everyone that is a danger to the government. Murmuring is our daily bread, at the level of persons, of the family, the parish, the diocese, the social level.

It’s a matter of finding a way “to not look at reality,”  “of not allowing people to think.” Jesus knows this, but the Lord is good, and instead of condemning them for murmuring, He asks a question. He uses the method they use. They ask questions with evil intentions, in order to test Jesus, “to make Him fall”; as, for example, when they asked Him about paying taxes, or about divorce. Jesus asks them, in today’s Gospel, “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it?” And “the normal thing would be for them to understand”; instead they do the calculation: “I have 99,” so what if one is lost?"

"We’ll let this one perish, and in the balance it will result in profit and loss, and we will save these." This is the logic of the doctors of the law. ‘Which one of you?’ And their choice is the opposite of Jesus’. For this reason, they do not go to speak with sinners, they do not go to the tax collectors, they do not go because ‘it is better not to dirty myself with these people, it is a risk. Let us save ourselves.’ Jesus is smart in asking them this question: He enters into their casuistry, but puts them in a position contrary to what is right. ‘Which one of you?’ And not one of them says, ‘Yes, it’s true,’ but all of them say, ‘No, no, I would not do it.’ And for this reason they are unable to forgive, to be merciful, to receive.

"Witness,” which is provocative, and makes the Church grow; “murmuring,” which is like a “guardian of my inner self, so that the witness doesn’t wound me”; and Jesus’ “question".

Another word: "joy", the feast, which these people do not know: “All those who follow the path of the doctors of the law, do not know the joy of the Gospel”.

Pray, “That the Lord might make us understand this logic of the Gospel, in contrast to the logic of the world.”