« We have done what we were obliged to do » (Luke 17:10).
The daily Word is proclaimed to the global church, so we cannot expect it to address our particular needs or concerns perfectly. Yet, for Americans going to the polls today to elect their leaders at every level of government, the short Gospel from Luke 17 has an important message for us.
Because this election cycle is fraught with attacks on the system itself, our ordinary duty to vote has an extraordinary importance. Your vote is your participation in self-governance. We make our choices, then accept the collective outcome. This is what a democracy requires, and we must do it gladly.
Jesus tells his Apostles and all those chosen to pastor the church not to expect any special praise for doing what they are supposed to do. They are to care for the flock and serve others as part of their ordinary duty and obligation. So also, every member of the church is to participate according to their gifts and roles in the community.
The church is both in and part of the world, and the good of society is the goal of church teaching and pastoral service. Being faithful citizens is an expression of our faith, and so we are simply obliged to take our witness of Christ with us into the marketplace, the workplace, and, today, into the voting booth.
How we vote is a matter of informed conscience and an intelligent understanding of the issues and candidates. But the obligation to take part in some way is clear, whether directly as candidates or helpers or indirectly by sharing our thoughts and opinions informally within our circle of influence.
Wearing an « I Voted » sticker by the end of the day is one sign of our duty to live our faith.