Sunday, September 13, 2015


One of the great lessons that I learned in the seminary was from one of our spiritual directors. He tried to ingrain in us that a truth or a lie can be spoken by anyone, and it's up to us to determine whether or not something is true or false. It doesn't matter what the source is, where it's coming from or who says it. We ultimately have to take it to heart and say, "Is that true or is that a lie?" 

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I thought of this when I was watching some of the YouTube highlights from the last Republican debate, and one of the things that I've been keeping up with is what has been come to be known as Trumpisms. It's definitely worth a Google if you haven't heard of them yet!

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump will say some pretty absurd things, and they tend to get a lot of attention when he says them. So the media has started calling them Trumpisms. And some of them I can't even repeat without going to Confession, so I will leave it up to you to Google the rest. 

However, one of the Trumpisms that I can talk about is how Trump responded when he was asked, "If you were president, how would you deal with the tension going on with Russia?" And this is what he said: "I'd make friends with them. I'd make friends with President Putin." It kind of shocked everybody, and it was really written off as the first Trumpism.

I thought about that statement. Is it true or is it false? It's true, right? What are we called to do with our enemies? We are called to love them. So he made a true statement. It doesn't matter what the source or where it came from. It's true, we are called to love our enemies. 

Saint James says, "Where do wars and where do conflicts among you come from? It is from your passions that make you members of war. You covet but do not possess; you kill and envy, but cannot obtain; you fight and wage war. You do not possess because you do not ask." 

So James is telling us what happens when we do anything that is selfish of our own passion, we wage war against each other. And in the beginning of the reading he says, "Beloved, where jealousy and selfishness exist, there is every disorder and every kind of foul practice and there's nothing more foul than war." "But," he says, "the wisdom from above is, first of all, pure, peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits without inconsistency and insincerity, and the fruit of righteousness is sewn, is peace for those who cultivate in peace." 

We are ultimately called to be a people of peace. And the reality is that we're used to wanting victory over an opponent, to achieve something of our own gain. And the Trumpism that proves to be true, at least how I interpret it is, we're called to befriend our enemies. We're called to actually befriend them. And I think about this on a very real and practical level in my own life, and ask you to do the same. Is there anyone right now that you consider an enemy? If so, how can you befriend them? The tendency is to want to attack or bring them down, but the reality is we're called to befriend each other.

I know a couple that have gone through a messy divorce. Having been divorced for a couple years now, the former husband said to me, "I've finally made friends with her. We're no longer enemies, but we have figured out a way to be friends." And I think about couples that have been married for 50 or 60 years and at some point, you know, through all of life's ups and downs, they have made friends with each other. Hopefully, by the end of 60 years, they have learned to love each other and accept each other and become the best of friends. 

I think about it within the father and son relationship, you know where you have the defiant son and the domineering father and they grow up and there's all this tension in their lives; that hopefully at some point the father and the son become friends as they grow older. This is true with me and my pastors. You have the young priest and the older priest. So Father Martello and I, by the end of his time here, we became good friends. And I hope the same is true for Father Tim and I. 

But that's the reality for all of us. Hopefully though, over time, we become friends, especially with our enemies -and this can seem very hard to reach and difficult to obtain. And that's why, Donald Trump is being ridiculed in the media; because it's so simplistic. You can't just make friends with a leader of a country that has opposing views as us. But the reality is we can. We are called to actually befriend everyone, especially our enemies. 

So I just want you to reflect for a moment now. Is there anybody in your life that you are at opposition with? Is there anybody in your life that you feel is kind of an enemy or someone that you are constantly at odds with? Those are the people that you are ultimately called to cultivate peace. 

And so the Trumpism that I at least find to be true is, what do we do with people that we've waged war on? We try to become friends with them.

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