The Discerning Voter: Challenged to be inclusive

Matthew 22:1-14 the Parable of the Wedding Feast

When Jesus issues an invitation, we are challenged to respond and we are challenged by God’s all-encompassing inclusivity. These were the major themes that arise when Fr. Ron Will, CPPS, and Fr. Joe Uecker , CPPS, discussed Matthew 22:1-14 in the sixth episode of our video series: The Discerning Voter Gospel Values for this Election Season.

Will and Uecker discussed the Parable of the Wedding Feast to discover the core Gospel values in the living word of God and how they speak to our current situation. Guided by those values, they discern how to make good choices in the voting booth, choices that are in line with the values of Jesus.

The values of Jesus they identified and discussed are

  • Jesus respects those to whom he is speaking
  • Jesus expects a response to his invitation and he needs us to do our part
  • God invites again and again; God won’t give up on calling us to himself
  • God is inviting to all kinds of people; God casts his net wide.

Will said that in this week’s Gospel, as in the last few weeks, Jesus is telling a parable about God sending and invitation. In the Parable of the Wedding Feast, the king, a symbol for God, finds his invitation rejected or ignored, but the king, God, keeps inviting again and again.

“God won’t give up on calling us to himself. In this parable, Jesus is painting an image of God as very inviting, to all kinds of people, not just the polite society, so to speak, but even those who are living on the fringe. God is casting his net wide. He wants to share the feast, his feast.”

Uecker picked up on this idea of God’s or Jesus’ invitation, and then added, “But Jesus expects a response. It’s not enough just to receive the invitation;  Jesus needs our cooperation and he needs us to do our part.”

New videos in this series will be posted on Tuesdays. All the videos will be collected on this page: The Discerning Voter: Gospel Values for this Election Season.

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Relating the parable to our current situation in this election season, Uecker says that while this parable does not address specific issues, the parables tells us that we are called to respond to issues that confront ourselves, our locales and our nation right now. “How are we going to respond?” is the challenge of this parable, Uecker said.

“All these issues” — climate change, dignity of life, immigration, racism, the disparity of wealth, workers’ rights, healthcare — “all these things they demand response from us,” he said.

Will said he in the parable, he found a question for us to answer. “As I listened to this … I hear the king being very inclusive. So as I look at voting possibilities, I have to ask, how inclusive is that candidate or policy of people of different circumstances, different colors.”

“A core value of the parable is inclusivity. So how, how do our candidates line up with the attitude of inclusivity?” Will asked.

They concluded their discussion with this prayer:

Gracious and loving God,
let your Spirit guide all candidates on the November ballot.

Drawing on the resources of faith,
we pray that each runs their campaign with civility.

Inspire each to use this opportunity to shape a society more respectful of the life, dignity, and rights of the human person, especially the poor and vulnerable.

+Amen

More from the video

To learn what candidates and issues are on your local ballot, visit ballotpedia.org/Sample_Ballot_Lookup. Type in your address and you can  view a sample of your local ballot.

Fr. Joe Uecker quotes NBA head coach Doc Rivers who said, “It’s amazing why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back. It’s really so sad.” Read more about Rivers’ comment and the context for it here: https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/30056734/democratic-presidential-candidate-joe-biden-references-quote-philadelphia-76ers-coach-doc-rivers-speech

Will and Uecker mention briefly “Fratelli Tutti (Brothers and Sisters All), on Fraternity and Social Friendship,” the encyclical from Pope Francis released Oct. 4, which is an urgent call to “rethink our styles of life, our relationships, the organization of our societies and, above all, the meaning of our existence.” Read more about it here: https://www.catholicnews.com/belief-in-god-as-creator-of-all-has-practical-consequences-pope-says/

Opening and closing music in the video is “Salute to A New Beginning” by the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets.

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