The Discerning Voter: Leaders are caretakers

Fr. Ron Will, CPPS, and Tim Deveney, the director of the Precious Blood Volunteer program and a member of the Kansas City Province’s peace and justice committee, discuss Matthew 21:33-43, The Parable of the Tenants.

The core values of Jesus they find in this gospel are:

  • Listen to the prophetic voices of today
    – To love better
    – To follow Jesus closer
  • God likes to work with the underdog
  • Leaders (church and government) are caretakers — not owners
  • The call to love better can be tough to hear.
  • God’s love shakes you to the core — that can be scary

Fr. Ron says that one thing that he hears in this gospel, is that when it comes to “family life and in community life, it is not all about me. It’s not about my preferences. I am responsible for building  community, for building relationships.”

“In the Precious Blood community, we call this the bond of charity,” he continues. “The parable reminds me that I don’t live a life for myself; I am accountable to someone else.”

Tim said that the parable got him thinking about his work with the Precious Blood Volunteers.

“Because they are working directly with people who are struggling quite a bit, they [the volunteers] are forced to hear people’s voices. … It could be some who is a victim of gun violence on the southside of Chicago. It could be about a person whose life has been upended because of violence or the criminal just system.”

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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It could be the voice of “a person who comes into a health care clinic because they can’t go anywhere else,” Tim said. “A lot of time, it is God’s calling us to love more fully, love people more deeply and seeing our neighbor as not just somebody who lives next door to us.”

He continued: “How this relates to voting … we need to listen to the prophetic voices around us to ask … how [individual candidates and parties] talk about especially marginalized groups, people who are hurt more so than others by such things as climate change, racism, by sexism.”

“We listen to those voices and we ask how is my voting, how are the candidates I am voting for, how are they either helping or hurting those people whose voices aren’t heard often, those people who are struggling.”

Fr. Ron added one more question to their discussion.

“As I hear this gospel,” he said, “just as the parable holds the high priests and elders accountable, so the parable holds governments today accountable for how they treat God’s people.

“So a question I try to keep in the back of my mind when I read about and study various candidates and issues, is how much of a servant attitude does a candidate have? What attitude comes across in their speeches and lifestyle?

Tim and Ron 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.


Here are two websites mentioned in the video:

Top image © Joe Sohm | Opening and closing music in the video is “Salute to A New Beginning” by the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets.

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