The faithful are facing this election day with a great deal of apprehension and angst. What if the nation elects leaders who do not represent our views about life and death matters such as abortion, COVID-19, law and order, economic security, religious freedom? How do we face the outcome of this day – whatever that might be?
We can find our answer in the words Jesus spoke to Peter in John 13. Like us, Peter was facing a critical moment in his life when he was about to see his Master arrested and killed. During dinner that night, Jesus wanted to wash his feet and St. Peter wouldn’t hear of it. “Master, are you going to wash my feet?” he asked the Lord.
“What I am doing you do not know now,” Jesus replied, “but afterward you will understand.”
Of course Peter could not understand why the Lord would debase Himself in such as way as to wash his feet, or why He would let Himself be arrested, unjustly sentenced to death, then hung on a cross and left to die in ignominy. As Peter struggled to face the days that followed the crucifixion, we can only imagine how often he remembered Jesus’s words – What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand.
Just as Jesus predicted, even though the apostles certainly couldn’t understand it at first, they eventually realized that this horrible event brought about the gift of eternal life for mankind.
“The same thing that befell Peter may happen to us,” writes Father Francis Fernandez. “We can find it difficult to understand many of the things the Lord permits in our life – pain , sickness, economic ruin, unemployment, the death of a loved one…” and even elections that may – or may not – go our way.
“Yet God’s plans are ordered to our eternal happiness,” he reminds. “Our mind can barely make out the most immediate of realities. Shouldn’t we put our trust in the Lord, in his loving Providence? Are we to trust the Lord only when things are going our way? We are in God’s hands. We could never find a safer refuge.”
If all goes our way and our candidates are elected, the Lord’s explanation will be met with rejoicing and gladness. If not, we can rest assured that the day will come when the He’ll explain it all to us, down to the most minute detail.
In other words, regardless of what happens today, for the believer, it’s a win-win.
“Everything that happens to us is foreseen by God, and is ordained to his glory and to the salvation of man,” writes the Ecuadorian priest and former Archbishop of Quito, Federico Suarez in his classic book, The Afterlife. “If what happens to us is good, God wants it for us. If it is bad, He does not want it for us, but allows it to happen because He respects man’s freedom and the order of nature; in such unlikely circumstances it is nonetheless in God’s power to obtain good and advantage for the soul – even bringing it out of evil itself.”
No matter what happens as the final votes are tallied, whether the results represent a victory or a setback, our God will turn it to our good.
What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand. How consoling are those words of Jesus to those who believe!
Fr. Fernandez suggests a simple prayer that is most fitting for a nation of believers on this very important day in the history of our country. “Lord, you know better. I abandon myself into your hands. You’ll explain it to me later.”
Let us go forth in peace!
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