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Lectionary Reflections: Eight Sunday of Ordinary Time [a] March 2, 2014

Engaging Faith | Thu, Feb 27, 2014

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time [a]

March 2, 2014

Copyright @ 2014, Center of Concern

Readings

Isaiah 49:14-15

1 Corinthians 4:1-5

Matthew 6:24-34

 

Calendar

March: Women’s History Month

March 1: International Day for the Abolition of the Death Penalty

March 1: International Women of Color Day http://www.womenofcolorday.com/ 

March 5: Ash Wednesday; Lent begins

March 8: International Women’s Day

 

"Quotes"

“The world expects from Christians a consistent witness of communion and solidarity.”

Blessed John Paul II, Message for Lent, 2001

 

“A person is alienated if he refuses to transcend himself and to live the experience of self-giving and of the formation of an authentic human community oriented towards his final destiny, which is God.”

Blessed John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, No. 41

 

“Sacred Scripture continually speaks to us of an active commitment to our neighbor and demands of us a shared responsibility for all of humanity.”

Blessed John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, No. 51

 

“God destined the earth and all it contains for all people and nations so that all created things would be shared fairly by all humankind under the guidance of justice tempered by charity.”

Second Vatican Council, The Church in the Modern World, No. 69

 

“My wish is that the dialogue between us should help to build bridges connecting all people, in such a way that everyone can see in the other not an enemy, not a rival, but a brother or sister to be welcomed and embraced!”

- Pope Francis, March 22, 2013

 

“The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor.”

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, No. 2

 

Thoughts for your consideration

Perhaps you’ve seen a T-shirt that reads: “The rat race is over! The rats won!”

In some ways our contemporary American culture is a giant rat race. Corporations are engaged in a giant race to increase their profits. Investors are demanding more income from their investments. Meanwhile, interest rates for smaller savers are very low. High-level executives are rewarded with high salaries. Average workers seem to get paid too little.  Ads pressure consumers to buy more and more. Workers are under pressure to do more for less pay and fewer benefits. Jobs are outsourced to countries where workers receive very low wages. People looking for jobs give up in frustration. People are encouraged to work harder and faster but don’t seem to get anywhere. People can feel like they are hamsters running in a wheel and trapped in their cage. Is this what God wants for human beings? Is this what we want as human beings?

Rich people run the rat race so that they can get ahead and earn a vacation and more luxuries.  Poor people run the rate race and receive lower wages (especially when we consider inflation).  Middle-class people are often caught in the middle needing multiple jobs to keep things going. Over the last three decades in the United States, income inequality has increased dramatically.

Jesus invites us to get off this crazy merry-go-round and create a Christian society that is built around something more than money and accumulating stuff.  Jesus said to his disciples:

“You cannot serve God and mammon.  … do not worry about your life … Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

God wants us to be free and alive. God wants us to create a society that is free and alive, where all of God’s children share in the bounty of creation. Today in Isaiah we read: “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” God has not forgotten us. God still wants something great for us. God calls us to something great!  Do not miss the call!  It is time to end the “rat race” and enter the “race for justice.”

 

Story

The fisherman and the businessman

http://mbstories.quora.com/The-Fisherman-and-the-Businessman-a-classic-B...

(There are many versions of the story.)

 

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

Has your life gotten too complicated with material goods?

Is God calling you to simplify things?

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In today’s reading from Isaiah, we have a very feminine image for God. We see God as a mother, holding her infant. How does this image help you relate to God?

 

Actions – Links

ONE fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, by raising public awareness and pressuring political leaders to support smart and effective policies and programs that are saving lives, helping to put kids in school and improving futures. Take online action on various issues by going to http://www.one.org/us

 

The Robin Hood Tax is package of financial transaction taxes proposed to help direct money to respond to serious human needs around the world. Read about how it would work at http://robinhoodtax.org/how-it-works. Learn more about the proposed Robin Hood Tax and consider taking action at http://robinhoodtax.org/

Urge Your Senators to Co-Sponsor The Women, Peace, and Security Act.  Go to http://www.capwiz.com/womenthrive/issues/alert/?alertid=63099091&type=CO

 

A Jesuit Online Daily Reflection for Lent and Early Easter

Ash Wednesday is March 5. The Jesuits of the United States have designed a program of prayer and reflection, and they’re inviting everyone to join in. Moved to Greater Love is a nine-week digital prayer experience, which begins the week of Ash Wednesday and concludes the second week after Easter. Sign up at http://www.jesuits.org/story?TN=PROJECT-20140128033207 

 

“Crazy Facts”   

* Seven out of 10 residents of sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity.

* 90 million children in sub-Saharan Africa lack electricity at school.

* Six out of 10 HIV positive people in sub-Saharan Africa are women.

* $20-$40 billion is illegally and corruptly appropriated from some of the world's poorest countries each year.

* Only 75 percent of global aid flows are now subject to international transparency standards.

From http://www.one.org/us/

 

Prayers of Intercession

Response: God, teach to let go and be free.

Loving God, sometimes we get caught up in our possessions and things. We pray…

Loving God, sometimes we get focused on money rather than people. We pray…

Loving God, sometimes we are filled with worry and fear.  We pray…

Loving God, sometimes our society’s values keep us from enjoying the gifts we have.  We pray…

Loving God, sometimes our ways of producing and consuming destroy the environment. We pray…

Loving God, sometimes our economic system makes it hard to live simply and honorably. We pray…

Loving God, help us to us to let go and live as you want us to live.  We pray…

  

Prayer - Meditation

God help us to live slowly

To move simply

To look softly

To allow emptiness

To let the heart create for us. Amen.   

                                    ~by Michael Leunig

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Find three more prayers about living simply at:

http://www.cafod.org.uk/content/download/644/5934/file/Prayer_Livesimply...

 

Compassionate and loving God,

      you created the world for us all to share,

      a world of beauty and plenty.

Create in us a desire to live simply,

      so that our lives may reflect your generosity.

Creator God,

      You gave us responsibility for the earth,

      a world of riches and delight.

Create in us a desire to live sustainably,

      so that those who follow after us

      may enjoy the fruits of your creation.

God of peace and justice,

      You give us the capacity to change,

      to bring about a world that mirrors your wisdom.

Create in us a desire to act in solidarity,

      so that the pillars of injustice crumble

      and those now crushed are set free.

Amen.

                                              ~  Linda Jones / CAFOD

 

Images

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/02/18/1278255/-Cartoon-The-dignity-of...

From the Memphis sanitation strike of 1968

http://jrcreativeink.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/photos-i-am-a-man-memphis-...