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Jaime L. WatersMay 13, 2022

Since its leak in early May, the draft of Justice Alito’s opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade has set into motion rallies, protests, celebrations, counter-legislation and enormous uncertainty in the United States. What a mess we find ourselves in that a matter as personal, difficult and traumatizing as whether to terminate a pregnancy has become even further enmeshed in the divisiveness of American politics. Whatever the outcome, this is not a win for anyone, least of all the unborn or women.

“Whoever loves me will keep my word” (Jn 14:23).

Liturgical day
Sixth Sunday of Easter (C)
Acts 15:1-29; Ps 67; Rev 21:10-23; Jn 14:23-29

How can you help communities that are most in need?

Should religious beliefs inform political decisions?

What can you do to better understand people with whom you disagree?

This is a reminder that elections have consequences. This decision is the first of many human rights issues that will likely be up for debate. Not surprisingly, such decisions will impact the poor, women, vulnerable populations and marginalized communities most directly. People of faith must respond. Perhaps Scripture can give us some motivation.

Jesus speaks of love again in today’s Gospel from John, demanding it as a requirement for discipleship. Jesus reveals this love through his healing ministry, acts of service to his followers 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 the women and children in need? Will the rallies continue for living wages, healthcare and education once the dust settles from this court decision?

Today’s Gospel also offers comfort and hope that we need. Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit as a teacher and advocate who works in the world. Jesus tells his followers to receive the Holy Spirit, affirming that the Spirit’s presence in the world is within us. Our actions should be inspired by the love and service that Jesus requires, and the Spirit motivates and sustains us through that work. If we pray for divine help to lead us through our many crises, we must also pray that we find guidance and courage from the Holy Spirit to help us act in the world.

Jesus also says that he gives peace, which he stresses in his post-resurrection appearances to the disciples. Obviously, we need peace in our world, as there is so much suffering and war at this time. Nonetheless, we cannot be at peace when there is turmoil 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 discourse, Jesus gives his followers comfort in knowing that his death is forthcoming because he wants them to understand and be ready for his resurrection and ascension into heaven. When he says, “do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid,” Jesus speaks of 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 in knowing that his love will continue even after his death. Agape, divine, selfless love, can give us comfort and inspiration to address the needs of the world.

As we continue through this time that is not peaceful, we must take the call to love and serve seriously. Many leaders in the church have pushed abortion as the “preeminent” voting issue, and soon we will see the results that our leaders have helped to create. Rather than celebrate this as a victory or bemoan it as a loss, figure out how you will serve the many people who need your help.

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