Engaging Faith | Tue, Jun 4, 2013
Lectionary Reflections: Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time [c] June 16, 2013
2 Samuel 12:7-10, 13
Galatians 2:16, 19-21
Luke 7:36 - 8:3 or 7:36-50
June 16: Father’s Day in the United States
June 17: World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought
June 19: Juneteenth http://www.juneteenth.com/
June 20: World Refugee Day http://www.worldrefugeeday.us/site/c.arKKI1MLIjI0E/b.8092105/k.B369/Worl...
June 21: Start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere
“History will judge societies and governments - and their institutions - not by how big they are or how well they serve the rich and the powerful, but by how effectively they respond to the needs of the poor and the helpless.”
“Among the actions and attitudes opposed to God’s will, two are very typical: greed and the thirst for power. Not only individuals sin in that way; so do nations and world-blocs. That is why we spoke of ‘structures of sin.’”
On Social Concern, (Donders), 37
“God's mercy can make even the driest land become a garden, can restore life to dry bones (cf. Ez 37:1-14)… Let us be renewed by God's mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish.”
Pope Francis, Easter Urbi et Orbi message, March 31, 2013
“As a Church, we must be people after God's own heart, bonded by the Spirit, sustaining one another in love, setting our hearts on God's kingdom, committing ourselves to solidarity with those who suffer, working for peace and justice, acting as a sign of Christ's love and justice in the world.”
U.S. Bishops, Economic Justice for All, 24
Thoughts for your consideration
David was given so much wealth and power, and so many blessings.
In the first reading, God condemns David’s sin but, after David repents, God forgives him for his unjust actions.
In the gospel, Jesus does not pretend that the woman who comes to him is sinless, however,
Jesus is able to see “her great love” and he forgives her.
The scriptures are about “mercy and compassion.”
God shows us “mercy and compassion.” We are called to do the same.
“Mercy and compassion” is a response to sins committed, but also a way of responding to others in all kinds of situations.
How do we put “mercy and compassion” into public policy?
How do we show “mercy and compassion” to those most in need?
To immigrants? To refugees? To the poor? To those in prison?
To those who have recently left prison? To those who have no political power?
To those without medical insurance? To the homeless? To those addicted to drugs?
To the elderly? To the very young?
To our abused and misused environment?
To highly indebted nations around the world?
[These challenges invite us to act with “mercy and compassion” to all in need, even if we cannot judge why.]
How do we condemn injustice like God condemned David’s sin?
How do we challenge unjust public policies?
How do we challenge the media who idolize wealth and possessions?
How do we challenge trade policies that take advantage of developing nations?
How do we challenge corporations that exploit the environment for greater profits?
How do we challenge governments who use torture and violence against their people?
How do we challenge those who build their foreign policy around military power?
[These challenges invite us to be aware of how greedy human actions lead us to do what is wrong.]
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
What public policies seem to you to cry out for “mercy and compassion?”
A father is able to forgive: (This story may be disturbing for some listeners.)
A teacher and a student:
A story of forgiveness:
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada:
“More than two years into Syria’s brutal conflict, children have lost months or years of education. At least one in five Syrian schools no longer functions, with thousands of schools destroyed, damaged, or sheltering people fleeing violence, according to the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Many more schools are harboring fighters or military units.”
“The most dangerous day of a child’s life is the day it enters the world - irrespective of where it is born. More than a million children a year die on the first day of life, 15 percent of all under-five deaths, according to a report by Save the Children, a charity. But by far the riskiest place to be born is sub-Saharan Africa. The region accounts for 12 percent of the world’s population, but 38 percent of first-day deaths… Health care is woefully inadequate, largely because of a severe shortage of health workers. The region has 11 doctors, nurses and midwives per 10,000 people—less than half the 23 considered necessary to deliver essential care. In Guinea, Niger, Sierra Leone and Somalia, there are fewer than two health workers for every 10,000 people. In Ethiopia up to 90 percent of women give birth at home with no skilled care. And even in Nigeria, which could soon overtake South Africa as the region’s biggest economy, nearly one woman in five has nobody—not even a family member or friend—to help during childbirth.”
Actions - Links
Oxfam America is a global organization working to right the wrongs of poverty, hunger, and injustice. Oxfam saves lives, develops long-term solutions to poverty, and campaigns for social change. As one of 17 members of the international Oxfam confederation, Oxfam America works with people in more than 90 countries to create lasting solutions. Take online action on important issues, go to http://actfast.oxfamamerica.org/index.php/takeaction/online
June is Torture Awareness Month. The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is committed to ending U.S.-sponsored and U.S.-enabled torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. http://www.nrcat.org
The Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC) was founded by and for torture survivors. Its mission is to end the practice of torture and to empower survivors, their families and communities. http://www.tassc.org TASSC Survivor Week is June 20-26.
Prayers of Intercession
Response: God of compassion, hear our prayer.
For those who are immigrants to our country, we pray….
For refugees throughout the world who long for freedom and safety, we pray….
For all those in prison and for those who have recently been released, we pray….
For all those who have been victimized by torture, we pray….
For all those who live in places of war and terrorism, we pray….
For those who are unemployed or underemployed or underpaid, we pray….
For those who have been victims of crime and violence, we pray….
For all those with wealth and power, that they may have the freedom to use their gifts for what is right and good, we pray….
Prayer for Father's Day
Loving God, we pray for those fathers who suffer the injustice of a job with wages insufficient to care for their family's needs.
We pray for fathers who work but cannot earn a salary allowing them to live above the poverty level.
We pray for fathers forced to take two low-paying jobs to house and feed their families.
We pray for fathers who cannot find decent work with decent pay.
The teaching of our faith emphasizes that work is central to the development of human dignity and the full personhood of all people. We are called to ensure that our governments develop policies that provide all who can work with decent jobs at decent pay. Help us respond to this challenge with joy, not fear, knowing that Christ, who worked as a carpenter with his father, walks with us. Amen.
Various worship resources to respond to the scandal of torture can be found at NRCAT’s website, http://www.nrcat.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=20&Itemid=49
Here is one found there: Prayer to Mark Torture Awareness Month
God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, we give thanks for your abiding presence with our ancestors and pray for your continued guidance to us, to all your children, and indeed to all your glorious creation.
Help us, gracious God, to act faithfully upon this truth: each human being is made in your image, sisters and brothers to one another.
Help us, gracious God, to teach our children and grandchildren to live together in peace and without fear. May they, like we, be passionate and persistent in ensuring that all forms of torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment are prohibited by law, and that our nation consistently upholds its deepest values.
We confess, gracious God, that we as a nation have permitted the practice of torture. Give us the courage to investigate our nation’s use of torture, to understand our own complicity and to seek healing for both the tortured and the torturer.
We pray, O God, in the hope that the integrity of our nation and its stature in the commonwealth of nations will be restored. We pledge ourselves this day to work without ceasing for the establishment of an independent, nonpartisan Commission of Inquiry to understand the causes, nature and scope of U.S.-sponsored torture. May such an inquiry help to prevent the use of torture in the future.
O Merciful God, may healing overcome brokenness, hope overcome fear, and action overcome despair. Lead us in your way of truth and justice.
And let us say, Amen.
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