Engaging Faith | Tue, Jul 19, 2011
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time [a]
July 17, 2011
Wisdom 12:13, 16-19
July 18: Birthday of Nelson Mandela
July 22: Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene
One may sin by greed and the desire for power, but one may also sin in these matters through fear, indecision, and cowardice!
John Paul II, On Social Concern, #47
The solidarity which binds all people together as members of a common family makes it impossible for wealthy nations to look with indifference upon the hunger, misery and poverty of other nations whose citizens are unable to enjoy even elementary human rights. The nations of the world are becoming more and more dependent on one another and it will not be possible to preserve a lasting peace so long as glaring economic and social imbalances persist.
John XXIII, Mater et Magistra, #157
Violence and injustice in the form of massive poverty, sexism, racism, and war destroy the lives of millions of human beings who die before their time. The radical transformation of crushing structures and murderous situations does not happen automatically but only through human effort that through active nonviolent resistance struggles for justice and against suffering. … In addition to cosmic and social renewal, Spirit-Sophia’s deeds take place when the life of every person is renewed. Jaded, discouraged, hurt, exhausted, worried, people have need for comfort, healing and new enthusiasm for life that arises every day. Nonviolently, but persistently the Spirit who dwells at the center of personal existence creates a clean heart, a new spirit, a heart of flesh and compassion instead of a stony heart (Ez 36:26).
Elizabeth Johnson CSJ, She Who Is
Renewal is an ever-present need. … Wherever the gift of healing and liberation in however partial a manner reaches the winterized or damaged earth, or peoples crushed by war and injustice or individual persons weary, harmed, sick or lost on life’s journey, there the new creation in the Spirit is happening. … Justice and peace throughout the world of nature and the human world are the effects of the Spirit’s renewing power, coming to fruition whenever human beings find community in mutual relations of sympathy and love.
Elizabeth Johnson CSJ, She Who Is
Thoughts for your consideration
Today’s scriptures deal with the mystery of evil
– evil that shows up growing in the midst of all the good in our world
– evil that can choke the good things that we would like to see grow and prosper
– evil that can show up in the structures and institutions of our world
– evil that is reflected in economic injustice, racism and xenophobia, violence and terrorism, political corruption, and a thousand other things
– evil that can tempt any of us toward violence, greed, and evil
– evil that can move us to be concerned about our group’s good and not the common good.
Today’s scripture, especially the parable of the weeds and the wheat, reminds us that God looks on this world with all its problems with compassion, love, and patience, not panic, hatred, and violence. God invites us to look on the world in the same way and act accordingly.
Class warfare is not the model of Jesus.
Jesus models reconciliation and healing.
Meeting evil with evil is not the model of Jesus.
Jesus speaks of active nonviolent resistance.
Destroying those who seem to be or do evil is not the model of Jesus.
Jesus believes that change, growth, conversion and reform are all possible.
People in the wealthier half of the world, can be tempted to look on the other half with an attitude of judgment and even condemnation – much like the servants who want to rip out what they think are weeds right away. People in one culture can look at people in a different culture with the same critical and rash judgment. We can condemn and destroy or we can work together toward understanding, reconciliation and peace. People in one political party can look with the members of the other party with great hatred and without listening.
We are invited to discover and learn and grow as a community.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
What evil in the world especially upsets you?
What would you like to do to address it?
How is your response consistent with the values of Jesus Christ?
What judgments do you find yourself making about the behavior of other people and groups?
Are you tempted to pull up the weeds you see in others?
Actions - Links
World Hunger and Commodity Prices
On July 1, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the 37th Session of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (F.A.O.) He addressed the problem of world hunger and the commodity markets which have drive up the price of food for those in need.
A quick summary can be found on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zXgfRQQoVIY#at=55
"Poverty, underdevelopment and the resulting hunger are often the outcome of selfish attitudes which, arising from man's heart, find expression in his social activities, in economic relations and translate into the denial of the primary right of every person to eat”.
“Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 75 religious denominations and faith communities, human rights, environmental, labor, and community groups working for the definitive cancellation of crushing debts to fight poverty and injustice in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.” http://www.jubileeusa.org/index.php Consider taking action at http://www.jubileeusa.org/get-active
In an article published online for the June 16 issue of The American Journal of Public Health, scientists computed the number of deaths attributable to each of six social factors. “Approximately 245,000 deaths in the United States in 2000 were attributable to low education, 176,000 to racial segregation, 162,000 to low social support, 133,000 to individual-level poverty, 119,000 to income inequality, and 39,000 to area-level poverty.”
Here is a link to the summary of the findings: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/AJPH.2010.300086v1
A NYTimes article about this can be found at
Aesop’s fable: The Swallow and the Other Birds
“It happened that a Countryman was sowing some hemp seeds in a field where a Swallow and some other birds were hopping about picking up their food.”Beware of that man," quoth the Swallow. "Why, what is he doing?" said the others. "That is hemp seed he is sowing; be careful to pick up every one of the seeds, or else you will repent it." The birds paid no heed to the Swallow's words, and by and by the hemp grew up and was made into cord, and of the cords nets were made, and many a bird that had despised the Swallow's advice was caught in nets made out of that very hemp. "What did I tell you?" said the Swallow. Destroy the seed of evil, or it will grow up to your ruin.”
Prayers of Intercession
Response: Spirit of God, help us in our weakness
War continues in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Libya, various other places in Africa, and all around the world. We pray.
Nations continue to spend fortunes on preparations for war. We pray.
Millions of people have awesome wealth. We pray.
Billions of people continue to live in poverty. We pray.
Millions of people cannot afford enough good food to eat. We pray.
Millions of children do not go to school. We pray.
Greed and fear are behind so many decisions. We pray.
Political discord paralyzes our governments. We pray.
The desire for peace and justice is in so many human hearts. We pray.
Prayer – Meditation
Prayer for All of Humanity
I pray for all of humanity to one day feel the pulse of the Mother Earth in their feet as they tread. I pray for mankind to find the faith to believe in the messages carried by their dreams and to see beyond the visible world. I pray that everyone I come in contact with can walk away with much, or at least some, of the happiness that lives within me. I pray for peace, acceptance, and tolerance for all who express their love for the higher power (whatever that name may be). Most of all, I pray for an end to the violence and depravity that darken many souls. Peace be with us all!
From Beliefnet Prayer Circle at http://www.beliefnet.com/prayeroftheday/prayer_main.asp