Engaging Faith | Thu, Mar 13, 2014
Second Sunday of Lent [a]
March 16, 2014
Copyright @ 2014, Center of Concern
1 Timothy 1:8b-10
March 16: Purim (Jewish festival)
March 17: Feast of St. Patrick
March 19: Feast of St. Joseph
March 20: First Day of Spring in the northern hemisphere
March 22: World Water Day
“The spiritual life depends on the Unseen. Each day try to see more good in people, more of the Unseen in the seen.”
- Twenty-Four Hours a Day
“We are moved to free our hearts every day from the burden of material things, from a self-centered relationship with the ‘world’ that impoverishes us and prevents us from being available and open to God and our neighbor.”
- Pope Benedict XVI, Message for Lent 2011
“Love of neighbor is an absolute demand for justice, because charity must manifest itself in actions and structures which respect human dignity, protect human rights, and facilitate human development. To promote justice is to transform structures which block love.”
- 1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World
“We call upon all people of goodwill, but Catholics especially, to welcome the newcomers in their neighborhoods and schools, in their places of work and worship, with heartfelt hospitality, openness, and eagerness both to help and to learn from our brothers and sisters, of whatever race, religion, ethnicity, or background.”
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Unity in Diversity, November 2000
“He does not reveal himself cloaked in worldly power and wealth but rather in weakness and poverty.”
- Pope Francis, Message for Lent 2014
Thoughts for your consideration
Benedict XVI writes in his encyclical “Spe Salvi” that “[T]he Gospel is not merely a communication of things that can be known – it is one that makes things happen and is life-changing.”
The gospel story of the transfiguration is such a communication. The disciples now see in a new way. They are called to bring that new way of seeing with them as they leave the mountain. Jesus urges them not to build tents and stay on the mountain. Jesus sends them forth with a new vision.
In the midst of our complex contemporary world, the gospel invites us to be free enough to see things in a new way and from other viewpoints. This is especially important if we are to put the social teaching of the gospel into practice and not just get trapped by the viewpoint of our culture. This is especially important if we are to see all people with love and understanding.
We see Christ in all men and women.
We see Christ in a special way in the experience of those who are poor or suffering.
We see Christ in those who are suffering from violence, torture, war or any form of abuse.
We see Christ in the struggle of people and nations to enjoy basic human rights.
We see Christ in single parents striving to be present to their children.
We see Christ in the journey and struggle of immigrants and refugees.
We see Christ in the beauty of the world.
We see Christ in world stressed by excess human activity and energy consumption.
We see Christ in the people of troubled locations like Syria, Ukraine, South Sudan, or Haiti.
We see Christ in all the hopes, joys, struggles and sufferings of the world.
In his message for Lent, Pope Francis wrote: “The Lord asks us to be joyous heralds of this message of mercy and hope!”
The experience of Abram in the first reading resonates with the experience of the millions of immigrants and refugees in our own era who are “called” to search for a new land, enduring all the problems which that entails. Thus we have another invitation to see things in a new way – from another point of view, from the perspective of immigrants and refugees. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has been calling our nation to meaningful and just immigration reform, reform which treats people with dignity.
The USCCB tells us that it is our “duty to welcome the foreigner out of charity and respect for the dignity and rights of the human person.” With the lgnatian Solidarity Network, we call on Congress to take immediate action to introduce and pass legislation that promotes humane comprehensive immigration reform. We stand with the USCCB in asking for immigration policies that provide a process for undocumented immigrants to earn citizenship, keep families together, enact the Development, Relief & Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, and respect the rights of workers and protect the most vulnerable, especially women and children. (http://ignatiansolidarity.net/immigration-resources/ )
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
This Lent, how is God calling you to see things in a new way – from a new point of view?
What is your experience of working with immigrants and refugees?
Do you know any? How have they taught you to know or see?
For stories about accompanying refugee, check out the Jesuit Refugee Service web page:
Actions – Links
The Jubilee USA Network http://www.jubileeusa.org is working to address the problem of extreme poverty by relieving the debt burdens of the world’s poorest nations. One of their campaigns is called the Voices of Esther Campaign. The Book of Esther tells the story of a woman who used her access to power to save her people from certain death, even at the risk of losing her own life. Like Esther, U.S. citizens have access to powerful decision-makers that affect the lives of millions around the world. We must use our privilege of living in a democracy and raise up the voices of the most vulnerable through our own advocacy efforts. Get info at http://www.jubileeusa.org/get-active-with-jubilee-usa/current-campaigns/...
March 22 is World Water Day. Get more information at http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday
Make Immigration Reform Your Lenten Promise. Join NETWORK, the Catholic Social Justice Lobby, and other churches to speak up on Immigration Issues. For details, go to
http://www.networklobby.org/ImmigrationLentenPromise . Download the Lenten Calendar at http://www.networklobby.org/files/Lenten%20Calendar%20for%20Immigration%...
The following is from http://www.networklobby.org/files/Immigration%20Reform%20Fact%20Sheet1.pdf
More than 5,100 children whose parents are undocumented immigrants are in the U.S. foster care system because their parents have either been detained or deported.
If undocumented immigrants without a path to citizenship continue to be deported, up to 15,000 children could be in the foster care system by 2016. Our nation’s child welfare departments do not have the resources to handle this increase.
Prayers of Intercession
Response: God, help us to see with new eyes.
May we see Christ in all men and women.
May we see Christ in a special way in the experience of those who are poor or suffering.
May we see Christ in those who are suffering from violence, torture, war or any form of abuse.
May we see Christ in the struggle of people and nations to enjoy basic human rights.
May we see Christ in single parents striving to be present to their children.
May we see Christ in the journey and struggle of immigrants and refugees.
May we see Christ in the beauty of the world.
May we see Christ in world stressed by excess human activity and energy consumption.
May we see Christ in the people of troubled locations like Syria, Ukraine, South Sudan, or Haiti.
May we see Christ in all the hopes, joys, struggles and sufferings of the world.
Prayer - Meditation
A Justice Blessing
May God bless you with discomfort with easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships so that you will live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people so that you will work for justice, equity and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war so that you will reach out your head to comfort them and change their pain to joy.
And may God bless you with the foolishness to think that you can make a difference in the world so that you will do the things which others tell you cannot be done.
Elaine Menardi, Diocese of Cheyenne, Catholic Relief Services “Called to Witness” program, Ecuador
Go to the US Catholic Conference Web Site for “The Justice Prayer”