Memorial of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, religious
(I John 3:22-4:6; Matthew 4:12-17.23-25)
Very soon the eyes of the nation will turn to the somewhat remote states of Iowa and New Hampshire. The country will be examining presidential candidates striving to build a following in the early contests of these states. The people will decide who connects with them; that is which candidates articulates their sentiments and deserves their trust. A similar process is taking place in today’s gospel.
Jesus is beginning his ministry. He does not go directly to Jerusalem but first meets the needs of the people in the remote regions of Zebulun, Naphtali, and Galilee. Soon he has followers from all over Israel and beyond. By the brilliance of his message and the power of his cures Jesus raises the hopes of everyone he encounters.
Praying that this year’s elections produce prudent leaders is not mixing politics and religion. It is asking God’s blessing on a fundamental human need. We require government leaders who are in definite ways like Jesus. They should be honest but discreet, strong but compassionate, wise but willing to act. Whether or not we will be satisfied with the results of our political process next year at this time, we can always turn to Jesus for help.