A Christian opportunity

I shifted in the pew, fully expecting that the homilist was finally getting to the pith-y moment. You know the moment — when everything culminates in a zinger line to think about. The liturgy on this Sunday was no different. After telling about a conversation with a parishioner who had admonished him "to be sure and address the U.S. presidential election from the pulpit," the homilist offered two thoughts.

First, a request: "Vote. Please vote. That's all I'm saying about the election."

Second, a question: "In the best love-thy-neighbor expectation of Christianity, are you prepared to love the candidate you don't vote for?"

There it was. An audible groan permeated the entire church. The homilist paused and then repeated the question.

Persons seated nearby were clearly uncomfortable with that thought as evidenced by heads shaking "no," moving around in the pew, coughing, and few smiling faces. The polarization created by the 2016 presidential candidates has created stridently opposite camps. Love that opposite camp? Are you kidding?

I have a feeling that Americans across the country will need to dig deep to find love not only for the winning candidate, whose humanness will fail our expectations in the presidential job from time to time, but also for the losing candidate who may never have met expectations in some peoples' eyes.

[Nancy Linenkugel is a Sylvania Franciscan sister and chair of the department of Health Services Administration at Xavier University, Cincinnati Ohio.]

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