LOS ANGELES — With recent polls showing an increasingly tight presidential race, it’s still unpredictable as to who will become the next president of the United States.
But for Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, knowing that “Jesus Christ is still King” is what really matters.
“Politicians come and go; nations rise and fall; empires fade away. What remains and what continues is the Church that Jesus established on the rock of St. Peter,” Archbishop Gomez stated during the Red Mass Dinner in Houston, Texas, on Nov. 2.
“No matter who wins next Tuesday, and no matter who loses, we are called to follow Jesus Christ as children of God and missionary disciples, to be faithful to Christ and to build God’s kingdom here on earth,” he continued.
Archbishop Gomez spoke to a group of public officials after the celebration of a Red Mass at the co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston, which is a tradition dating back to the 11th century. Attendees specifically include members of the judiciary and legal professions.
Throughout his speech, Archbishop Gomez outlined two “signs of the times” that he believes are helpful in reflecting on the reality in the United States. He first pointed to the signs of a post-Christian America, noting the increasing secularism in American society and the resistance towards religious freedom.
“I think all of us can agree that the elites who govern and shape the direction of our societies are deeply secularized and hostile to religion, to religious values and to traditional culture,” Archbishop Gomez stated.
Secondly, he underscored the “crisis of the human person,” saying that “society has lost the sense of the human person.” The California archbishop mentioned gender ideology and same-sex “marriage” as part of the false humanism promoted in American culture, leading down the dangerous road of “false humanism.”
He also highlighted the poor treatment of the marginalized in society, including migrants, the homeless, and refugees, saying that society has become indifferent and unable to empathize with the people.
“We are becoming a society with no mercy; and, again, it is because we no longer see the sanctity and the great dignity of the human person.”
However, the next president isn’t going to change the way society treats religion or the human person, Archbishop Gomez stated. Instead, he believes that individuals will impact the future more than a political party.
“No matter who is president, no matter what party is in power, we are not going to restore religious values ‘from above,’” he said, noting that every person’s identity is founded in Christ, not political affiliation.
“If we want America to be greater, then we need men and women like you and me who are committed to serving God and living their faith in every aspect of their lives,” he said, also noting that “if we want to live in a society that promotes virtue and justice and human dignity — if we want leaders who reflect these values — then we need to become leaders and role models in our society.”
On this point, Archbishop Gomez said that only one thing can change the world: the call to be a saint.
“This the reason we are here: to follow Jesus Christ and to become more and more like him, through the grace of sacraments and through our desire for holiness. This is the beautiful truth about who we are as children of God,” he said, emphasizing the need for saints in every aspect of human life.
His comments came only a day after All Saints’ Day, in which the Catholic Church recognizes and celebrates the lives of the saints. Archbishop Gomez noted the timely feast, encouraging the faithful to emulate the example of these saints who were in “the middle of the world” and yet remained untouched by its lures.
“That’s another way to answer the questions we have about this election and the issues we face in our culture and our society. God wants saints everywhere!”
Instead of despairing at the voting booth, Archbishop Gomez encouraged the building of morality and spirituality among individuals, saying that personal renewal will impact a cultural renewal, no matter who wins the presidential nomination.
He laid out concrete examples of ways to pursue renewal: strengthen personal prayer and relationship with God, build up communal relationships in marriages and families, and be witnesses to the Church through compassion and mercy.
“Our country and our world will be renewed — not by politics, but by saints. And that means you, and that means me. If we want a greater America, we need to become, by the grace of God, greater saints,” Archbishop Gomez said.
“No matter who is president, Jesus Christ is still the King. And we are still called to be saints and to renew this world in the image of his kingdom.”