The Young Man at the Tomb Holding Fast to Each Other Amen to What We Are The Lord, Our Justice Claiming Our True Name What We Expect The Comma Keeping the Demons Quiet The Dove in the Heavens Thankfulness and Generosity Speaking to Jesus A Promise to Simeon and Us A Sign for You The Voice in the Wilderness How Annunciations Work The Least, the Lost, and the Last Waiting for Christ’s Return Attire for the Kingdom The Cross in a Violent World Come to the Banquet Today Anointing of the Sick Finding the Eternal Change and Continuity Paying Attention The First and the Last Using Bad Consequences How to Talk to God Ready to Forgive Facing the Serpent Priority and Mutuality Three Meals a Day Searching for Pearls The Power of Service Why Walk on Water? The Day Jesus Was Wrong The Promise of the New Name The Two Feet of Love Facing the Hour Looking Backwards Touching the Leper Touching the Leper Misunderstanding God Doing It Poorly God’s Midwife A Name for the Holy Spirit The Coffin So We Do Not Have to Touch Being Better to Each Other Earthquakes and Galilee Lazarus as a Disciple Seeing More Learning from Peter Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/2/14 Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/9/14 Choosing a Master Goodness in Temptation A Pinch of Salt Teaching the Commandments The Freedom of the Baptist Christ’s Broken Body Faith Is More than Looking The Twelve Days of Christmas God’s Timing Resurrection and Transformation The Good That Is Gone Zacchaeus Moments God in the Smallest Things Trust and Community When God’s Commands Do Not Fit The Faith of Honeybees Choosing Hell Following the Dishonest Steward The Ninety-Nine The Freedom to Let Go Beyond Politics The Balance of Humility Not Fearing Fire The Beauty Remains To Welcome as a Samaritan A Moveable Peace Bring On the Women! The Two Sides of Bread Waiting for the Ticket The Groove of the Spirit Jesus Is Not Like Congress A Divine Partnership What Kind of Love Is This? Boston Bombings and God Fishing and Forgiveness A New Kind of Joy Letting Christ Out The Sign of Inversion Our Doodling God A Parable of Love and Jealousy Not Enough Time The Ordinary and the Transcendent The Battle with the Devil God Is Not Kidding The Power of Love We Are the Body of Christ The Arc of Life Waiting for the Final Gift Displacement at Christmas Incarnating God Presenting the Mess Red Cake and Lima Beans A Call to Serve Beyond Asking Jesus’ Commandment Being Ready to Take God in the Foxhole God Is Still Working Adjusting What Is Necessary Learning from the Prophet Amos About Jesus’ Brothers The Most Popular Miracle The Importance of Hunger Eternal Life Influencing Others Finding the Right Proportion Do What You Love Stopping for the Least To Love Irritating People Marriage, Divorce, and Children Asking for More Drinking the Cup Terror in Paris God Will Come Boundaries, Security, and Generosity Feeling Movements of Life A Place to Learn God Uses Small Things Signs of Life When God Says No Christian Optimism From Transition to Call The Long Struggle The Gate of Heaven Common Sense or Hope The Spoiled Son An Oasis for Everyone Jesus’ Last Meal The Curious Omission Finding a Pony Anointing of the Sick A New Commandment After the Ascension Sin and Love The Cross and Joy The Call to Follow A Call for Humility Violence in America Two Thoughts on Prayer Live Today with Thanksgiving An Examined Life The Narrow Gate Serving Ourselves Losing Sheep Using Dishonest Wealth The Door and the Chasm Faith and Duty Distance and More Not Growing Weary Making a Difference Inadequacies and Grace Finding God Facing Turmoil Jesus, Remember Me The Lion and the Lamb Wild Like John Let Go in Love A Wider Christmas The Last Six Miles God’s Big Plan The Remnant The Salt of the Earth Beyond the Ten Commandments Love Your Enemy Focusing Our Worry How Evil Works Our Transfiguration Re-membering Our Lives Our Story If Only The Time for Hope A Second Greeting of Peace The Eucharist and Welcoming Practicing Non-Violence The Work of Forgiveness Why Are You Looking Up at the Sky? The Mystery of Salvation Being Thankful How Is a Burden Light? The Problem with Sparrows Eternal Creation Patient Vigilance Buried Treasure Thinking Again Where You Do Not Want to Go The Courage to Speak Humility and Truth Do Something Good Knowing the Song Acting Against Evil God Will Come What We Can Say Senseless Violence Invitation as a Threat What Belongs to God Two Commands, Side by Side Burdens We May Not See Foolish or Wise Accepting the Consequences Serving the Least Watching for Jesus Camels and Gnats Becoming Smaller The Christmas Barber The Ring of the Kings The Freedom and Faith of John the Baptist Zebedee The Opioid Crisis Approaching, Grasping, Lifting Up What God Intends The Battle with Satan Following Elijah and Moses Standing in Truth A God of Love or Condemnation When Life Turns Not Fully Prepared The Wounds We Carry Selling Onions Son of Encouragement To Love as God Loves Engagement with the World Doubting Disciples Sabbath Avoiding the Diabolical Persistent Hope Speaking the Word Within Us “And Also With You” Capital Punishment I Will Go On Three Wise Choices Will You Also Leave? Show No Partiality Carrying the Cross for Whom? Outside the Lines The Camel and the Needle Ask First for Sight What God Sees Only God The Arc of the Universe Turmoil, Fear, and Dismay The Gift of the Desert A Punch for the Holidays Politics and Religion Jesus Always Understands One Body God’s Love The Call Blessings and Woes Imitating God’s Mercy The Blind Leading the Blind The Devil’s Agenda Looking Closer, Looking Beyond Accepting God’s Love Mob Thinking The Easter Egg Fishing with Uncle Mike Loving Like Jesus God’s in Love with This World

Beyond Politics

Fr. George Smiga
September 1, 2013
Luke 14:1,7-14

William Allen White was one of the great newspapermen of the last century. He was the editor of the Emporia Gazette, and he was a hardcore Republican. But on one occasion as a reporter he was assigned to cover a Democratic fundraising event in his native state of Kansas. When the clergy person who was meant to give the opening prayer suddenly canceled, the organizer of the event saw White sitting in the audience and approached him to ask whether he would be willing to give the invocation. White responded, “No, I don’t think I can do that, and for two reasons. First of all, I’m not skilled in the art of public prayer. And secondly, I really don’t want the Lord to know that I’m here.”

Political convictions run deep. They often divide us, today perhaps more than ever. So to give a homily addressing a political issue is a dangerous enterprise at best. But it is one in which I feel impelled today to engage. The homily you are about to hear is neither a Republic homily nor a Democratic homily. It is an honest attempt to relate the words of Jesus’ in today’s gospel to the political realities in which we live.

In the gospel today, Jesus tells his disciples that when they hold a dinner, they should not only invite their family, friends, and neighbors, but should also invite the poor, the crippled, and the blind. This attitude of welcoming and inclusiveness is not a unique characteristic of Jesus. It comes from his Jewish heritage. Throughout the Old Testament, God is consistently presented as the champion and advocate for the lowly. God continually calls Israel to welcome the immigrant and the refugee so that they might live among them. Jesus knows this sense of welcoming and he makes it his own. In the gospel of Matthew he tells us that when we welcome the stranger we welcome him (Matthew 25:35).

Now it is on the scriptural basis that Catholic teaching on immigration is founded. We live in a world which is divided into countries. But the land and the resources of each country comes as a gift from God, a gift that is not meant to be hoarded but shared.  Yes, we are Americans, Mexicans, Germans, Egyptians, and Japanese. But prior to those distinctions of nationality, we are all sons and daughters of one God who has both created us and saved us. It is on these religious foundations that Catholic social teaching on immigration insists that each country has two fundamental duties both of which need to be implemented and neither of which can be ignored. The first duty is that every country is to secure its borders and within those borders to pass just laws that promote the common good. The second duty of every country is to welcome the foreigner out of charity and out of respect for the human person. In countries that have been particularly blessed, like our own, there is an increased responsibility to welcome those who seek security and a livelihood for their families, so that they can live in our midst.

It is upon these scriptural and moral principles that we move now to politics. People of every political party admit that our immigration system is broken. There are presently over 11 million undocumented individuals living in our borders. The United States Bishops have long advocated for immigration reform based upon five moral principles which are enumerated today in your bulletin. [Our bishops support Immigration Reform which: (1) Provides a path to citizenship for undocumented persons living in the United States; (2) Preserves and strengthens family unity as a cornerstone of our national immigration system; (3) Provides legal avenues for low-skilled immigrants to come and work in the United States; (4) Restores due process for individuals caught up in the immigration system; (5) Promotes efforts that will address the root causes of migration, such as poverty and persecution.] But chief among these principles is a path to citizenship for those undocumented members living in our midst. Past attempts to pass immigration reform have failed. But recently a group of legislators both Republicans and Democrats have come together with a proposal that has passed the United States Senate with an overwhelming majority and is now in front of the House of Representatives with its future unsure. This is the time for us who are followers of Christ to contact our representatives in the House and to encourage them to make this new immigration bill law. It is not a perfect bill. No legislative efforts are. But it is a significant advance over our present immigration policy.

The way to contact your representatives can be found in the bulletin and on our where there is also additional information about these issues. I do encourage you to act to let your representatives in the House know that this bill deserves passage. And remember, when you do so, you will not be following a Republic or a Democratic strategy. You will be following the teaching of Jesus.

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