Engaging Faith | Fri, Jun 27, 2014
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time [a]
July 6, 2014
Copyright @ 2014, Center of Concern
Romans 8:9, 11-13
June 28 - July 28: approximate days of Ramadan, the Muslim Holy Month
July 4: Independence Day in the United States
July 5: International Day of Cooperatives
July 11: World Population Day
Consequently, the promotion of justice is at the heart of a true culture of solidarity. It is not just a question of giving one's surplus to those in need, but of ‘helping entire peoples presently excluded or marginalized to enter into the sphere of economic and human development.'
- Pope John Paul II, World Day of Peace Message 2001
The fundamental sin is exploitation, whether it be expressed in the domination of male over female, white over black, rich over poor, strong over weak, armed military over unarmed civilians, human beings over nature. These analogously abusive patterns interlock because they reset on the same base: a structure where an elite insists on its superiority and claims the right to exercise dominative power over all others considered subordinate, for its own benefit. … What is being looked for is not simply the solution to one problem, but an entire shift of world view away from patterns of dominance toward mutually enhancing relationships.
- Elizabeth Johnson CSJ, She Who Is, 27-28
We have to state, without mincing words, that “there is an inseparable bond between our faith and the poor.”
- Pope Francis, Evangelli Gaudium, 48
Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs.
St. John Chrysostom, De Lazaro Concio, II, 6: PG 48, 992D
Now is the time for a new "creativity" in charity, not only by ensuring that help is effective but also by "getting close" to those who suffer, so that the hand that helps is seen not as a humiliating handout but as a sharing between brothers and sisters. We must therefore ensure that in every Christian community the poor feel at home.
- John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte
Demands involving the distribution of wealth, concern for the poor and human rights cannot be suppressed under the guise of creating a consensus on paper or a transient peace for a contented minority. The dignity of the human person and the common good rank higher than the comfort of those who refuse to renounce their privileges. When these values are threatened, a prophetic voice must be raised.
- Pope Francis, Evangelli Gaudium, 218
Thoughts for your consideration
The scriptures today seem to have a strong “counter-cultural” message.
The scriptures challenge us to look at our world and its values in a critical way.
The scriptures invite us to move beyond greed and selfishness and to learn from and connect with others.
Our culture seems to value power and control and victory over “the enemy.” However, the scriptures today give us the image of a savior that comes with humility, without military and economic power, “meek and riding on an ass.”
In a society overwhelmed with many examples of greed and large scale corporate abuse, the scriptures remind us of the virtues inherent in simplicity of life and a gentleness of spirit.
Wealth, control, and domination are not the central values of Jesus Christ.
In a world that is choking on greenhouse gases, warming the whole planet, killing the life of the oceans, and over consuming all kinds of resources, we are invited to respect our planet and cherish the gifts we have been given by living simply and responsibly.
In a world filled with the weapons of war and spending on the ways of violence, the scriptures speak of a savior who banishes the horse, the chariot and the warrior’s bow. The scriptures certainly challenge our world which invests so many resources into fighting wars and procuring weapons for war.
In a world where the international trade system and the world economy seem to disadvantage those who have little, we are reminded that “if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” A focus on wealth and money will certainly “kill” the spirit and freedom of God.
The gospel reminds us that this counter-cultural message is a message of liberation and life. As we let go of all the craziness of our culture, we will find “rest” and finally really be alive. Then, justice and peace can truly take over.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
- Zechariah talks about the destruction of weapons and the proclamation of peace. What would such talk sound like today?
- What weapons and policies need to be destroyed?
- What does this say to us as we consider policy in the Syria or Iraq?
- When do you feel burdened by the pressures of our culture?
- What things would you like to let go of so as not to be a “debtor to the flesh?”
One day a countryman going to the nest of his goose found there an egg all yellow and glittering. When he took it up it was as heavy as lead and he was going to throw it away, because he thought a trick had been played upon him. But he took it home on second thought, and soon found to his delight that it was an egg of pure gold. Every morning the same thing occurred, and he soon became rich by selling his eggs. As he grew rich he grew greedy; and thinking to get at once all the gold the goose could give, he killed it and opened it only to find nothing. –Aesop
Actions – Links
We read in Zechariah today: “He shall banish the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; the warrior's bow shall be banished, and he shall proclaim peace to the nations.”
Pax Christi USA is the national Catholic peace movement committed to the gospel imperative of seeking peace through nonviolence. For info and resources go to their web site at http://www.paxchristiusa.org/
For some info about how the US spends money on war go to: http://www.warresisters.org/piechart.htm
THE WORLD CUP
Bread for the World's World Cup series will use the occasion of the World Cup to focus on the great advances many of the participating countries and players have made in fighting hunger and poverty: “Each day, until the end of the tournament, they will highlight a country, or an individual player, that is making a difference.”
It is available at http://blog.bread.org/world-cup-series/
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI, “is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.” There web site is http://www.sipri.org. Their latest report tells us:
Military spending by the United States declined by 5.6 per cent in real terms in 2012. Together with the 1 per cent fall in 2011, this is the first clear manifestation of an adjustment of US military spending to a post-war situation. However, spending in 2012—$685.3 billion—was still 69 per cent higher in real terms than in 2001, which marked the beginning of the wars on ‘terrorism’, in Afghanistan and, from 2003, in Iraq.
Prayers of Intercession
Response: May we proclaim peace and life to all the nations.
We pray for our enemies.
We pray for those with whom we are in conflict.
We pray for those who do not share our Christian values.
We pray for those whose lives are dominated by greed and materialism.
We pray for those who seek to control and manipulate others.
We pray for those who turn to military might and weapons to get what they want.
We pray for those who fail to use our economic systems for the common good.
We pray for our planet that suffers from our abuse and overuse.
We pray for all Christians that we might be faithful to the spirit and wisdom of Jesus.
We pray for ourselves that we may be aware of our failures and learn to do what is good for all.
Forbid it, Lord, that our roots become too firmly attached to this earth, that we should fall in love with things…
Then shall we see all of life in its true perspective. Then shall we not fall in love with the things of time, but come to love the things that endure. Then shall we be saved from the tyranny of possessions which we have no leisure to enjoy, of property whose care becomes a burden.
Give us, we pray, the courage to simplify our lives. So may we be mature in our faith, childlike but never childish, humble but never cringing, understanding but never conceited. So help us, O God, to live and not merely to exist, that we may have joy in our work.
In your name, who alone can give us moderation and balance and zest for living, we pray. Amen.
- Written by Peter Marshall at the Christian Resource Institute athttp://nhop.ca/liberation-from-materialism-peter-marshall/
O God, we pray for all those in our world who are suffering from injustice:
For those who are discriminated against because of their race, color or religion;
For those imprisoned for working for the relief of oppression;
For those who are hounded for speaking the inconvenient truth;
For those tempted to violence as a cry against overwhelming hardship;
For those deprived of reasonable health and education;
For those suffering from hunger and famine;
For those too weak to help themselves and who have no one else to help them;
For the unemployed who cry out for work but do not find it.
We pray for anyone of our acquaintance who is personally affected by injustice.
Forgive us, Lord, if we unwittingly share in the conditions
or in a system that perpetuates injustice.
Show us how we can serve your children
and make your love practical by washing their feet.
- Attributed to Mother Teresa