For the final episode of our video series, “The Discerning Voter: Gospel Values for This Election Season,” all seven of our participants got together to discussion lessons learned over the course of the series, the aim of which was to help us prepare to go to the voting booth this November.
A message that came home to Dennis Keller, a member of the Amici group of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, he said, was “The gospels are about today and not about something that happened 2,000 years ago.”
Picking up on that notion was Gabino Zavala, a Precious Blood Companion and the Kansas City province’s director of peace and justice, who said that the gospels aren’t just “spiritual stuff for us.”
“The gospels are alive,” he said, “and they speak to us today. They’re not these old dead stories … they challenge us to really see how [the Gospel message] applies to what we are living and doing today.”
Fr. Ron Will, CPPS, host and moderator for the series, agreed with Dennis and Gabino. “Scripture for me is the living word of God. The scripture is not just describing people in the past, but speaking directly to us. And there’s something about our situation, that those words on Sunday, are speaking to if we listen.”
Precious Blood Companion Pam Demasi said she heard something new studying the gospels over these past weeks, especially in Matthew 22: 34-40. “I found new insight in [the phrase] ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ ” Pam said. “You have to make sure you are spiritually and emotionally healthy first — then we have the power to protest injustice.”
Fr. Joe Uecker, CPPS, said the greatest insight he learned was that “God’s ways are not our ways, which means we live in an imperfect world.” But bound by our duty to work for the Kingdom of God, he continued, we are bound to improve that imperfect world. “As voters we need to look at positions and candidates who can lead us to a less imperfect world.”
Improving the imperfect was an idea picked up by Tim Deveney, the director of the Precious Blood Volunteer program and a member of the Kansas City Province’s peace and justice committee. “Voting is only part of our responsibility as engaged citizens,” he said.
“It is about pushing elected officials to be watchful of the most vulnerable and the most marginalized. It’s about making sure that love is at the center of our policy decisions.”
“Almost every single gain that has made our society a little bit more perfect,” Tim continued, “has come about because there has been coordinated efforts by ordinary people to push politicians and leaders to do the right thing, the loving thing.”
The civil rights movement and the women’s suffrage movement are both perfect examples of that, he said.
“What came most vividly to me,” Precious Blood Companion Jean Swymeler said, “is that we are all one. We are all brothers and sisters. … We are all interconnected.” Therefore, she said, “Voting should be about making life better for those around us.”
All the videos in this series are collected on this page: The Discerning Voter: Gospel Values for this Election Season.
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Fr. Ron summarized the seven weeks of study and discussion:
“One of the things this whole series says to me is that this discussion does not just prepare us to go to the election booth in November, but I have a responsibility after Election Day, whether my candidate wins or not.
“We are one family. We are called to love one another. We are called to resist rhetoric that sows division.
“We have a responsibility as Catholics to stay involved, and stay engaged beyond voting day. Actually, our responsibility as Catholics just begins on the day of voting.
“I want to accept the responsibility to pay attention [to our elected officials] and to write letters, to make phone calls to their office, or send emails to them.” The message we need to send them after the election, Fr. Ron said, is that we have identified for them our values and that we want them to carry those values into their work.
Let us end this video series with “A Prayer for the Election.”
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,
Our nation faces many challenges at this time.
We need wise leadership on many levels, and we turn to you asking that you inspire us as voters to discern which candidates and policies will advance your vision for our human family to make the kingdom of God on earth a greater reality.
Inspire each of us to use this opportunity to shape a society, more respectful of the dignity, life and rights of the human person, especially the poor and the vulnerable.
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.
You can read the full statement Provincial Council Statement Regarding Voting, from the Kansas City Province of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood here: https://preciousbloodkc.org/voting/
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