Queen of Heaven Catholic Church

1800 Steese Road • Uniontown, Ohio 44685 • 330-896-2345

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Pastoral Letter

October 21, 2018 - The 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Good News from Deacon Steve

Polarization – noun: a sharp division, as of a population or group, into opposing factions.

A few years ago, there was a popular acronym “WWJD” which stood for “What Would Jesus do?” With all of the politically charged, divisive news that constantly swirls around us these days, I wonder if the letters “WWJS” would be a more relevant acronym to reflect on.

What Would Jesus say about the factions we, as individuals in our modern lives, find ourselves gravitating toward? A person can’t turn on the 6:30 p.m. world news without being inundated with talk of differences between Democrats vs. Republicans, blacks vs. whites, rich vs. poor, or males vs. females. Let’s face it, we are, perhaps more so than ever, polarized. With that fact staring us in the face, the question becomes, “How are we, as Catholic Christians – as children of the Father – called to live in this polarized reality?” We need to consider this question given our Lord’s command to, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you…”

Perhaps the words, listening, loving and leading, strengthened by prayer and the Sacraments, would help serve us to live out our Gospel mandate.

Maybe it’s time to ask those who differ from us, “How are we going to peacefully coexist in our society?” But, beyond this question, it’s most importantly, time for us to have the patience and openness to actually listen to what our opponents have to say. It’s important to remember that the way we often win the ears of others is by learning to use our own. We follow a God/man who commanded us to tell the world about Him. If we’re so busy spouting divisive words, we’ll never make time to tell those we face that someone loves them enough that He came to die for them.

Perhaps it’s time to love people despite our disagreements. Christ calls us to a better way, a way that requires us to love our neighbors as ourselves, even if we don’t agree with them. We can’t love people we’re unwilling to listen to. And, we can’t be so afraid of being infected with some opposing ideology that we’re unwilling to have coffee with the differing neighbor down the street who just happens to be Democrat/Republican, black/white or male/female.

Perhaps, too, we can better carry out Christ’s Gospel directive by leading people to understand what we believe. It seems that now is the time for a revival of evangelization – of mission – that grows from relationships. The world isn’t going to know we’re different by our positions; they’ll know that we’re different by our actions. Let’s lead the world to know that we are different by living the kind of lives that give us credibility.

Perhaps part of the reason we’re known by our disagreement is that we’re not working hard enough to be known by our love. A Christian’s life should be the symphony of truth of Jesus Christ lived in healthy relationships, not a disharmony of contradictory assertions that serve only to divide.

Finding yourself being enveloped in the pit of polarization? WWJS?

May God bless your soul with His greatest blessings and make it all His!
Deacon Steve