At Holy Mass today, we read St. Paul quoting from the prophet of Jeremiah. The prophet promised a transition to a new covenant. The Holy Spirit would move the heart of man. In our Gospel reading, we witness the Lord Jesus inaugurating the life of His Church by choosing His twelve Apostles.
St. Paul points out, “what has grown old is close to disappearing.” The world is old. At today’s presidential-inauguration ceremonies, the Cardinal Archbishop of New York read Solomon’s prayer in Wisdom 9; Solomon asks God to give him the wisdom to build the Temple in Jerusalem. Our new president swore to uphold the covenant by which we live in this land, the U.S. Constitution. We pray for justice and peace on earth. But all the things of this world are very old; they’re all on their way out; our life on earth ends in the blink of an eye.
Every day, however, the Lord pours out His Spirit. That is always new. Our life with God, by the grace of Jesus Christ, is always new.
In his inaugural address, our new president emphasized the significance of the transition taking place today. His slogans rang hollow, like politicians’ slogans usually do. But this particular gentleman solemnized his presidential inauguration with chilling, tone-deaf messianic pretensions.
…Today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another…For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost…That all changes – starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you…January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again…
…Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now…The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.
I tried to think of oratorical parallels. The gentleman who stood in the same place eight years ago had more than his fair share of messianic delusions of grandeur, too. But as President Trump spoke, this speech echoed in my mind:
Of whom ought we to think today?
The innocent and defenseless unborn children in the womb?
Tomorrow a lot of people will march in Washington, a Million-Woman counter-inaugural parade. They will stand up for a certain number of things I certainly believe in, like: this president is a shameless bastard and an obtuse dumbass. But pro-lifers received a dis-invitation to tomorrow’s Woman’s March.
Trump’s advisor Kellyanne Conway regards herself, like I do, as “a member of the pro-life rank and file.” The pro-life rank and file will march on Washington a week from today, as we annually do.
I think we should rejoice that pro-lifers will finally have some real political power. May they use it to build the culture of life.
Should we think today of the poor people who have to live in fear of losing their healthcare? Or the undocumented who have to live in fear of deportation?
Should we think of the dogged journalists who really don’t appreciate the way our president brazenly lies to them?
We have been here before, and the USA has lived to tell the tale. We have had ill-equipped presidents who didn’t know much of anything. One of them served from 1856 to 1860. But not all of them handed off to their successors a nation on the verge of Civil War…
In his speech today, the president painted the picture of a blighted, bleeding nation. Thank God that’s not really the state our nation is in. We know how to love our neighbor. Let’s keep doing it.