28th Sunday in Ordinary Time [a]

Engaging Faith | Mon, Oct 3, 2011

By John Bucki, S.J.
Source: Center of Concern

Comments on Sunday's scripture readings

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time [a]
 October 9, 2011

Isaiah 25:6-10a
Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20
Matthew 22:1-14 or 22:1-10

October 10: “Columbus Day” in the United States
           Thanksgiving Day in Canada
October 14: Birthday of the Peace Corps
October 16: World Food Day


“As individuals and as a nation, therefore, we are called to make a fundamental 'option for the poor.' The obligation to evaluate social and economic activity from the viewpoint of the poor and the powerless arises from the radical command to love one's neighbor as one's self. Those who are marginalized and whose rights are denied have privileged claims if society is to provide justice for all. This obligation is deeply rooted in Christian belief.”
U.S. Catholic Bishops, Economic Justice for All, #87

The economy must serve people, not the other way around.
Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political
Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States, 52

Farm owners and farm workers are the immediate stewards of the natural resources required to produce the food that is necessary to sustain life. These resources must be understood as gifts of a generous God. When they are seen in that light and when the human race is perceived as a single moral community, we gain a sense of the substantial responsibility we bear as a nation for the world food system. Meeting human needs today and in the future demands an increased sense of stewardship and conservation from owners, managers, and regulators of all resources, especially those required for the production of food.
          US Bishops, Economic Justice for All, #228

Material goods and the way we are developing the use of them should be seen as God's gifts to us. They are meant to bring out in each one of us the image of God. We must never lose sight of how we have been created: from the earth and from the breath of God.
           John Paul II, On Social Concern (Donders translation), #29

The most profound motive for our work is this knowing that we share in creation. Learning the meaning of creation in our daily lives will help us to live holier lives. It will fill the world with the spirit of Christ, the spirit of justice, charity, and peace.
           John Paul II, On Human Work (Donders translation), #25

Thoughts for your consideration

The vision of Isaiah is the vision of a God who wants good things for all people.  In a world of poverty and injustice, Isaiah paints a vision of a God who provides for everyone generously. In a world of nationalism and ethnic & racial division, Isaiah paints a vision of a God who destroys the veil/web that covers over and divides all people.  In a world in which people are focused on money and the problems of the economy, Isaiah talks about discovering a God who saves us – a God with a liberating set of values. In a world which continues to see so many tears and so much injustice, Isaiah paints the vision of a God who wants to wipe away those tears and bring us together in a new way. 

This vision is repeated in Jesus’ story of the wedding feast.  What God wants is a great wedding feast – a feast that is open to all. God is unhappy when folks don’t accept the invitation. “The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests.”  The vision is expressed in what we call today the “option for the poor.”  The vision is made concrete whenever we work to include those on the outside – those without power - minorities, women, immigrants, the elderly, the sick, those who don’t fit our expectations and priorities.

In our fast paced and busy world, the story of Jesus reminds us of what can prevent us from sharing in the vision of Jesus.  We get too busy with other things. We miss the invitation. Instead of taking advantage of the feast, we end up going our own way to buy a farm or manage a business. We become preoccupied with money or possessions. We can get separated from the vision of Jesus; we can miss out on the great wedding feast.  We can be distracted by the various ideologies of our culture – consumerism, discrimination, militarism, sexism, racism, fear, isolation, rugged individualism, nationalism, etc.  We can be distracted by wealth or financial security or entertainment or prestige.

The excerpt from Philippians reminds us that the vision of Jesus is a vision of freedom – freedom to have a lot or a little, a freedom to come to the banquet and to share the banquet – freedom to share “in the glorious riches of Jesus Christ.”  It is the very opposite of the spirit that leaves a large percentage of the children in the US in poverty.  It is the opposite of the spirit of war and terrorism.  It is the very opposite of the spirit that puts us in a world of radical economic inequality and injustice.  It is the very opposite of so many of the ‘ungodly’ spirits around us.

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

When have your enjoyed a wonderful and all-inclusive joyous party? 
In what ways did it remind you of the images of today’s scriptures?
How does this image help you envision what God might want for our world?


How does the image of the wedding feast contrast with your perception of our economic situation?

    There is a story about a man who runs out to meet a monk who is passing by the village. ‘Give me the stone,’ he cries, ‘the precious stone.’
    The monk says, ‘What stone are you talking about?’
    The man says, ‘Last night God appeared to me in a dream and said, “A monk will be passing by the village at noon tomorrow, and if he gives you a rock that he is carrying with him, you will be the richest man in the country.” So give me the stone!’
    The monk reached into his sack and took out a diamond; the biggest diamond in the world, the size of a human head! And he said, ‘Is this the stone you want? I found it in the forest. Take it.’ The man seized the stone and went running home. But he couldn’t sleep that night. Very early the next morning he went to where the monk was sleeping under a tree, woke him up, and said, ‘Here’s your diamond back. I want the kind of wealth that enables you to throw wealth away.’
    Anthony de Mello,
    Walking on Water, 30

Actions - Links
FCNL & lobbying for peace
“The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) fields the largest team of registered peace lobbyists in Washington, DC. Founded in 1943 by members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), FCNL's multi-issue advocacy connects historic Quaker testimonies on peace, equality, simplicity, and truth with peace and social justice issues which the United States government is or should be addressing. FCNL is nonpartisan.”  Take action on many issues at: One of their recent take action efforts is to ask the congress to reduce the Pentagon budget:

The Dream Act and this fall’s Dream Sabbath
Catholic Social Teaching calls us to share our gifts and to welcome immigrants and refugees. The Interfaith Immigration Coalition is working for the passage of the Dream Act. “The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act is a bipartisan bill that would allow … students a chance to earn legal status if they came to the U.S. as children (15 or under), are long-term U.S. residents (continuous physical presence for at least five years), have good moral character, graduate from high school (or obtain a GED), and complete two years of college or military service in good standing.” Find out more and take action at
“This fall, faith communities around the country will host hundreds of “DREAM Sabbath” events to raise awareness for the DREAM Act.” 

“Crazy Facts”

“Twenty-five percent of very young children in America are living in poverty, according to an analysis of Census data released Thursday. The number of children under six living in poverty rose to 5.9 million in 2010 from 5.7 million in 2009, researchers from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire found. The ranks of American children in poverty have swelled by 2.6 million since the recession began.”

Prayers of Intercession
Response:  Lord, guide us on the road to justice for all.
For the billions of people in our world who are poor, we pray…..
For all those who are hungry this day, we pray….
For all the people who are homeless or in danger of losing their homes, we pray…..
For the millions of people who are refugees without even a nation to call home, we pray….
For the countless people who are excluded because of their ethnic or racial heritage, we pray….
For those who are overly preoccupied with their money and possessions, we pray….
For our political leaders called to lead us through all the difficulties, we pray….

Prayer - Meditation

Micah 4:1-3:
”In days to come the mount of the LORD'S house Shall be established higher than the mountains; it shall rise high above the hills, And peoples shall stream to it:  Many nations shall come, and say, "Come, let us climb the mount of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, That he may instruct us in his ways, that we may walk in his paths." For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples and impose terms on strong and distant nations; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.”

God, the mountain seems so high.
God, the path seems so steep and challenging.
God, help us to be connected to one another in a spirit of respect for all.
God, lead us to the top of the mountain of peace and justice. 

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