We have a new government. The previous one was in for two terms, and not many governments get three terms in New Zealand. Democracy and freedom of speech are vital tenets of our society, and being able to campaign and vote for whatever and whoever we believe in, is an important part of this. Politics is a hard job, as you will never please everyone, there will always be critics, and indeed it affects the families of the politicians a lot. I have prayed for our politicians to have strength, and to act with compassion and love. It’s certainly not a job I could do. We will all be waiting now, whether we voted for the new government or not, to see what comes now.
We know that laws change, taxes change, different parties have different takes on what the best thing for the country is. It’s hard for the average Kiwi, because what is “best for the country” or better for others may not be best for you individually for any number of reasons. We have communal responsibilities as well as personal ones, and there is a move away from this in general in society with people focusing on their own needs, and not so much on those of others.
Jesus came to change things, to shake things up. The only time in the New Testament we see him really lose his temper is at the Temple where he throws the vendors’ tables over, not wanting the holy place of worship to be reduced to a selling ground. Jesus gave us new laws: “Love one another as I have loved you”, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you”, and he instituted the Eucharist, which was very radical at the time. Change is inevitable, and we all know this, although we don’t always want to embrace it.
It is vital to keep what is mean and hateful and the unkindness out of politics, and not to attack individuals. We want really good quality, well-meaning people of high values to be our representatives, but it is easy to see why so many wouldn’t dream of being a politician when you see how they can be treated by the public. We saw how Jesus was treated. He was crucified for being the “self-declared” King of the Jews whom they rejected. We need to be careful not to verbally crucify our politicians, and remember that they are people with families and loved ones.
I think, like me, a lot of New Zealanders are really worried about the state of our education and health systems. We want to see all New Zealanders access world class education, going to school and staying in school, leading on to be productive members of society. Our health system is broken – we all know that it can take days to see a GP, the cost of health is rising because of underfunding, and the hospitals can’t cope with the volume of acute work. Public transport struggles to keep up, and our roads are so congested it impacts on productivity. It is hard to know where to start, I suspect, as a politician!
Jesus challenged the Rabbis, and was criticised by the Pharisees and scribes for disobeying the laws of Moses. We need to stay within the law and pay our taxes, and continue to challenge and fight for the rights that we can see being eroded. It is a challenging time to be a Catholic Christian. I will be praying for our new government as they come into power.
Mark 12:17: “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and give to God the things that are God’s’. The men were amazed at what Jesus said.”