Bishop John Keenan, the Bishop of Paisley delivered the Time for Reflection in the Scottish Parliament today (Tuesday 14 June) at 2pm.
In his address, he quoted the Gospel according to Matthew, saying ‘…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven’.
He added, ‘…the good MSP does not want to govern in a way that prefers his own supporters but with a heart that serves the whole people, so that we all suffer rainy days together and enjoy the sunshine equally and to the full’.
Note to Editors:
- The full text of Bishop Keenan’s reflection can be found below.
- A photograph of Bishop Keenan can be downloaded here:
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Time for Reflection
Holyrood Parliament, 14 June 2016
Every day the Church celebrates Holy Mass and the Gospel reading for today’s Mass, which Pope Francis and parishes all over the world have heard, is this:
Jesus said, ‘You have learnt: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’
Here Jesus gives us a new idea about being perfect, of how to become the politician of the year in his book. And it is that, even if our politics must be founded on loyalty to our party, our integrity should go further and be rooted in loving service to the whole parliament, above and beyond partisan lines.
The kind of loving service the Gospel speaks about is not easy but its values are already written into the furniture of this very chamber. We could have followed Westminster and its adversarial layout with benches confronting each other on both sides. Instead we opted for an opened up circle, pointing in to a centre and reaching out, beyond itself, towards consensus.
This should also be the landscape of the politician’s soul. The good MSPs knows he has opponents but hopes to be no-one’s enemy. Even if she has to face what, from time to time, has hallmarks of hatred from sections of the people, she does not wallow in persecution complexes. And, for as long as he is in power, he does not want to govern in a way that prefers his own supporters but with a heart that serves the whole people, so that we all suffer rainy days together and enjoy the sunshine equally and to the full.
God our Heavenly Father, we thank you for our elected representatives here in this place and we pray that, as each day begins, they come ready to greet all their peers so that our democracy can grow ever richer in the service of our great nation.