Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11
Brothers and sisters:
If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.
For you have died,
and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ your life appears,
then you too will appear with him in glory.
Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly:
immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire,
and the greed that is idolatry.
Stop lying to one another,
since you have taken off the old self with its practices
and have put on the new self,
which is being renewed, for knowledge,
in the image of its creator.
Here there is not Greek and Jew,
circumcision and uncircumcision,
barbarian, Scythian, slave, free;
but Christ is all and in all.
We are in the midst of another presidential election season.
And since Christians still constitute a majority, though shrinking, of the U.S. population, the two major parties’ nominees and VP running-mates all claim to be Christians.
But surely, we are not gullible little children who believe someone just because he or she claims to be one? As an example, the Democratic Party’s presidential and vice-presidential nominees both claim to be Christians, and yet both support the absolute “right” of women to kill their unborn. Some followers of Christ they are! More absurd still is Tim Kaine, the Democratic Party’s VP candidate, who says he’s a Catholic when the Catholic Church’s unchanging and unwavering principle is that abortion is an intrinsic evil, for which there can be no excuse, rationalization or justification.
But in the above passage from his letter to the Colossians, St. Paul had given us a simple yardstick to ascertain the truth or falsity of someone — including ourselves — who claims to be a follower of Christ:
“Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. Stop lying to one another….”
Five of St. Paul’s criteria — immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, greed — are internal attributes that may be opaque for outsiders to see. But the sixth criterion — lying — is an external behavior that is observable and verifiable.
It is also a violation of one of the Ten Commandments — the 9th.
But it’s not just the 9th Commandment, for lying is at the basis of every one of the Ten Commandments. Think about it . . . .
I suggest that we ask ourselves when we are in the voting booth this November 8:
“Which candidate(s) lies, constantly, for which we have incontrovertible evidence?”
No matter your party affiliation, no matter your self-interested reasons for supporting a candidate, imagining that she/he would give you what you want, do you really think a Christian would lie, constantly?
And if she lies about everything, can you believe the promises she’s making in her quest to be president? Seriously, are you really that deluded or stupid?
Why do you not understand what I say?
Because you cannot bear to listen to my words.
You are from your father, the devil,
and you prefer to do what your father wants.
He was a murderer from the start;
he was never grounded in the truth;
there is no truth in him at all.
When he lies he is speaking true to his nature,
because he is a liar,
and the father of lies.
Jesus says the Greatest Commandment of all is to love God with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind, and with all our strength.
So if you love God with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with all your strength, how can you lie to others and to yourself, not just once, not just an occasional lapse from grace, but repeatedly, constantly, relentlessly?
May the joy and peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!