Since his escape in early May, Judge Alito’s draft opinion to overturn Roe vs. Wade sparked rallies, protests, celebrations, counter-legislation and enormous uncertainty in the United States. What a mess we find ourselves in on such a personal, difficult and traumatic matter as whether to terminate a pregnancy that has become even more entangled in the division of American politics. Whatever the outcome, it’s not a victory for anyone, let alone unborn children or women.
“He who loves me will keep my word” (Jn 14:23).
Sixth Sunday of Easter (C)
Acts 15:1-29; Ps 67; Rev 21:10-23; John 14:23-29
How can you help the communities that need it the most?
Should religious beliefs guide political decisions?
What can you do to better understand people you disagree with?
It’s a reminder that elections have consequences. This ruling is the first of many human rights issues that are likely to be debated. Unsurprisingly, such decisions will have a more direct impact on the poor, women, vulnerable populations and marginalized communities. Believers must respond. Perhaps Scripture can give us some motivation.
Jesus speaks again of love in today’s Gospel of John, demanding it as a requirement for discipleship. Jesus reveals this love through his ministry of healing, his acts of service to his disciples and most fully when he sacrifices his life on the cross. Followers of Christ are called to serve one another using Jesus as a model. How will you serve women and children in need? Will the rallies continue for living wages, health care and education once the dust settles from this court ruling?
Today’s gospel also offers the comfort and hope we need. Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit as a teacher and advocate who works in the world. Jesus tells his disciples to receive the Holy Spirit, affirming that the presence of the Spirit in the world is within us. Our actions must be inspired by the love and service that Jesus demands, and the Spirit motivates and sustains us through this work. While we pray for divine help to guide us through our many crises, we must also pray that we find direction and courage from the Holy Spirit to help us act in the world.
Jesus also says he gives peace, which he emphasizes in his post-resurrection appearances to the disciples. Obviously, we need peace in our world, because there is so much suffering and war right now. Nevertheless, we cannot be at peace when there is unrest and injustice, and we must respond accordingly to help those who will be affected by the politics of the day. In order to receive the Easter peace that Jesus wants to give, we must cooperate with the work of the Spirit to help bring it to fruition.
In his farewell speech, Jesus comforts his disciples knowing that his death is imminent because he wants them to understand and be ready for his resurrection and ascension into heaven. When he says, “Let your hearts not be troubled or afraid,” Jesus is talking about his own suffering and how his followers might react to such a loss. Jesus shows his willingness to suffer and he wants his followers to find peace knowing that his love will continue even after his death. Agape, divine and selfless love, can give us comfort and inspiration to meet the needs of the world.
As we continue to go through this time which is not peaceful, we must take seriously the call to love and to serve. Many church leaders have made abortion the “preeminent” voting issue, and we will soon see the results our leaders have helped create. Rather than celebrating it as a victory or lamenting it as a loss, think about how you will serve the many people who need your help.