Easter Week 4
The “How” of the Mission
Week 4: May 12
Fourth Sunday of Easter
Picture a time when someone has tried to convince you to change your mind. Were you approached with yelling, waving hands, and heated debate? Or perhaps someone connected with you and offered a personal witness or another point of view that you had not considered before.
The call to political engagement as a form of service is intimately linked to Christian charity. The Catechism teaches, “Charity is the greatest social commandment. It respects others and their rights. It requires the practice of justice, and it alone makes us capable of it. Charity inspires a life of self-giving” (CCC 1888).
This loving engagement in the public square finds its most proper form not in condemnations but in dialogue and persuasion. No one will be convinced of a particular truth if the reason we give is solely an appeal to authority or “just because we say so.” Rather, beginning with points of commonality and led along the course of conversation and dialogue, others may come to see and understand another point of view. It is only in understanding that any hope of persuasion can take root.
Pope Francis urges that “[i]n a culture which privileges dialogue as a form of encounter, it is time to devise a means for building consensus and agreement while seeking the goal of a just, responsive and inclusive society” (Evangelii Gaudium 239). Fundamental to this approach is dealing respectfully with all we meet. Mutual respect is the setting in which dialogue can take place, even more so for us who are called to dialogue as expression of our Catholic faith and love of God and neighbor.
Consider the following documents related to dialogue in the public square:
Eternal Father, thank you for our faith and for the gift of reason. We ask you to send forth your Spirit and to confirm in us the grace of patience, prudence, and joy to be effective witnesses to the power of the Gospel to others. In conversation, may we truly hear the perspectives of others and, from that posture of listening, respond accordingly. We ask all of this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Are you persuaded when you are confronted with heated argument or are you more likely to change your point of view when you are invited to consider another approach? How do you interact with others when you are concerned about issues in the public square? Do you respond with passion, concerned with “winning” the argument? Or could you take time to listen and act with charity, engaging in a dialogue? Take some time this week to reflect on the way you encounter others – your friends, family, legislators, and others.
Continue the Easter Journey
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