“Ask not what your church can do for you. Ask…”
This past Monday marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late President John F. Kennedy, our nation‘s first and only Catholic president. The election of a Catholic president was a milestone for the church, as many wondered if we had finally arrived at the point where we could influence the nation, maybe even the world. Insofar as this line of thought remains, some question whether the lack of a Catholic successor to JFK indicates a lack of enduring influence for our church.
While political pundits debate, for example, if the Supreme Court has a majority of liberals or conservatives, it is clear that Catholics have a 5-4 majority, with Associate Justices Alito, Kennedy, Sotomayor, and Thomas, joining Chief Justice Roberts in church on Sunday. Legatus, the Catholic group of top business leaders, includes more than 4,000 chief executives in the nation. Whether a Catholic is at the top of an organization, institution, company, or nation matters less than how fully the other seemingly countless Catholics who populate these communities integrate our faith into the marketplace, society, and local cultures in which we live.
St. Francis de Sales believed deeply in the basic principle that every person is to live Jesus in whichever state in life the disciple enjoys. Obviously, not everyone can lead a company, nation, or community, but everyone can bring Gospel virtues to the dealings, negotiations, completion of tasks, and interactions that comprise a day at work—and collectively—a career and ultimately a life. Stay-at-home parents, chief executives, creative professionals, and blue collar workers bless our world, civilize our nation, and build the church by bringing the best of our faith to the rest of our days.
Whether we sit on the Supreme Court, in a cubicle staring at a computer screen, behind the wheel in a carpool line, or in an entirely different context, we hold a power to bring to that setting the real presence of Jesus that we receive, celebrate, and become through our Sunday worship. May our efforts to bless our days be empowered and emboldened by the grace we have received to enflame the world with the Spirit whose presence we celebrate this coming Pentecost Sunday.