TUALATIN — Now that Election Day 2020 has passed, we should remember that Pope Francis has called us to be united as the people of God. Pope Francis encourages us to identify with Christ which “involves a commitment to build with him that kingdom of love, justice, and universal peace” and contribute to the common good. Looking back, the period leading up to Election Day was quite rambunctious.

For some people, the election season can be fascinating. These people seem to thrive on the bantering, the arguing, the heated comments, and the drama of it all. For others, though, the election process is tedious and can be very stressful.

With Election Day over, however, it is a challenge to figure out what to do with all of that energy and political passion. Although the opportunities for getting together for the celebration of Thanksgiving this year may be quite limited because of COVID-19 considerations, there may still be opportunities in our families for haggling over unresolved issues from the campaigns.

St. Paul provides us with some guidance on how maybe to manage such discussions around the Thanksgiving table. First of all, St. Paul calls us to love. He writes, “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous. Love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth” (1Cor 13:4-6).

In the spirit of St. Paul, then, I offer you this advice at the Thanksgiving table: Do not ever argue about politics or religion. That is a total waste of time. It will get you nowhere. You will only end up exhausted and discouraged. Please feel free, of course, to have pleasant, even lively, discussions of political and religious issues, but do not get drawn into a manipulative dynamic where the only answer is that you are wrong and the other person is right. Anger is a physiological reaction to stress. You can feel the tension somewhere in your body. Don't do that. When it comes to politics or religion, tell the other person that you do not argue about those things. You are happy to answer questions, but when you feel the tension, stop talking. You are beginning to experience an argument.

As we look forward, then, to celebrating Thanksgiving Day, let us remember St. Paul’s call to love. Love is all that matters. The rest is all distraction.

Father Moisant is pastor of Resurrection Parish in Tualatin.