September 12, 2011 - Monday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary time

Today's Readings

St. Paul asks us in the first reading to pray “for everyone, for kings and for all in authority.” He wrote this at a time when kings and those in authority were often very bad people. We all know about King Herod and the various Roman Emperors. Today we vote for our government and become very upset if they happen to disagree about tax policies. Perhaps modern people are more likely to be dissatisfied with any leader, or maybe ancient people just expected their leaders to be cruel and capricious.

We have to live somewhere, under some political system. Christians can engage in the political process of their countries like anyone else, and really ought to so that they can bring the truths they know from faith into the public sphere, but if someone is elected whom we disagree with, we ought to pray that they will do what is right.

St. Paul is just being practical. He says that we should pray for government leaders because he believes that praying has effect. He believes that if we pray for them, they will be helped to lead in a wise and just way. Some people might think that praying is nice but not a very effective way to change the world. What about faith? If we believe that God can do anything, and we believe that he is waiting for us to ask him for what we need, then we should eagerly pray for peace and justice.

Some people like the policies of President Obama. Some people do not. If we consider only one policy that we Christians all ought to strongly oppose, namely his support for those who kill small children who have not been born yet, we ought to pray for him to learn the truth about the dignity of every human being. If we consider the many other policies and decisions involved in being President, we should pray that he has the wisdom to know what is right.

I do not know how to reduce unemployment, maybe no one really knows, but God knows. His wisdom could help our President to make the country better. Whether we voted for him or not, it is in our best interest to pray for him, and not only for him but for all the Senators and Representatives and Legislators and Justices and Judges and police officers and everyone else, “for kings and all in authority, so that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life.”