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Lectionary Reflections: Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time [b] July 26, 2015

Engaging Faith | Wed, Jul 15, 2015

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]

July 26, 2015

Copyright © 2015 Center of Concern

Readings

2 Kings 4:42-44

Ephesians 4:1-6

John 6:1-15

 

Calendar

July 30: World Day against Trafficking in Persons http://bit.ly/1pnkWx6

July 31: Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus

August 1: Feast of Alphonsus Ligouri, founder of the Redemptorists

 

Quotes

If there is hunger anywhere in the world, then our celebration of the Eucharist is somehow incomplete everywhere in the world.

-Pedro Arrupe, SJ

The hungry nations of the world cry out to the peoples blessed with abundance. And the Church, cut to the quick by this cry, asks each and every person to hear his or her brother's or sister’s plea and answer it lovingly.   

-Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 3

Our nation has been blessed with great freedom, vibrant democratic traditions, unprecedented economic strengths, abundant natural resources, and a generous and religious people. Yet not all is right with our nation. Our prosperity does not reach far enough. Our culture does not lift us up; instead it may bring us down in moral terms. This new world we lead is still too dangerous, giving rise to ethnic cleansing and an inability to confront hunger and genocide. We are still falling short of the American pledge of “liberty and justice for all,” our declaration to defend the inalienable rights of the person--“life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

-U.S. Bishops, Faithful Citizenship: Civic Responsibility for a New Millennium

Feed the hungry (cf. Mt 25: 35, 37, 42) is an ethical imperative for the universal Church, as she responds to the teachings of her Founder, the Lord Jesus, concerning solidarity and the sharing of goods. 

-Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 27

In all places and circumstances, Christians, with the help of their pastors, are called to hear the cry of the poor. This has been eloquently stated by the bishops of Brazil: “We wish to take up daily the joys and hopes, the difficulties and sorrows of the Brazilian people, especially of those living in the barrios and the countryside – landless, homeless, lacking food and health care – to the detriment of their rights. Seeing their poverty, hearing their cries and knowing their sufferings, we are scandalized because we know that there is enough food for everyone and that hunger is the result of a poor distribution of goods and income. The problem is made worse by the generalized practice of wastefulness.”

-Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 191

When we cannot earn our own bread, we lose our dignity.  This is a tragedy today, especially for the young.

-Pope Francis @Pontifex, 2:07 AM - 7 May 2015

 

Thoughts for your consideration

Large numbers of people in our world suffer from some form of “food insecurity.”  For many reasons too many people are going hungry.  At the same time, in our world as a whole, there is no shortage of food. The challenge is that many people don’t have the means to buy the food they need or to raise their own food.

Our religious faith invites us to address this problem.  Many of our churches support food pantries or soup kitchens.  Many groups work to share food with those in need in other parts of the world.

Our faith also invites us to address the issues in the world that cause people to be hungry.  We are called to work together to address issues that keep people hungry -- issues like monetary policy, trade rules, land reform, sweatshops, working conditions, the rights of farm workers, the role of women in agriculture, the role of large corporations and governments in food policies, the state of our ecology, and many others issues. We believe that all of our institutions and rules must put people first and allow all people to have access to enough food.

The scriptures today remind us of God’s desire for all people to share in the bounty of food produced in our world. In the stories about Elisha and Jesus, everyone ends up with more than enough to eat.  The problem in our world is not one of scarcity but of distribution.  There is enough for all.  The miracle of the scriptures is a miracle of sharing – a miracle of distribution – a miracle of justice for the whole community of hungry people. With the vision of Paul in the second reading, we are invited to make real the call to be “one body and one Spirit.”

 

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group 

  • How has the recession of the last four years, effected your ability to get enough good food in your family?
  • How has the recession increased hunger and homelessness in your part of the world?

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  • When have you experienced the sharing of food among a large group of people?
    • Was there enough?  
    • What was the spirit of the event? 

 

Story

Stone Soup

Some travellers come to a village, carrying nothing more than an empty cooking pot. Upon their arrival, the villagers are unwilling to share any of their food stores with the hungry travellers. Then the travellers go to a stream and fill the pot with water, drop a large stone in it, and place it over a fire. One of the villagers becomes curious and asks what they are doing. The travellers answer that they are making "stone soup", which tastes wonderful, although it still needs a little bit of garnish to improve the flavour, which they are missing. The villager does not mind parting with a few carrots to help them out, so that gets added to the soup. Another villager walks by, inquiring about the pot, and the travellers again mention their stone soup which has not reached its full potential yet. The villager hands them a little bit of seasoning to help them out. More and more villagers walk by, each adding another ingredient. Finally, a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by all.

To read other variations of the story of stone soup, go to: http://bit.ly/1I3K9au.

 

Actions – Links

Bread for the World

“Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.” Check out their suggestions for online and other types of action on hunger and poverty issues at http://www.bread.org/.

Art & Social Justice

Cartoons and Comics that attempt to address global hunger can be found at: http://bit.ly/1O76xjw.

Jesuit Advocates 

Jesuit Advocates speaks for the voiceless on matters of social concern before government and corporate institutions. Learn more at: http://bit.ly/1HvljPx.

 

“Crazy Facts”

Population Statistics from the One Campaign (http://bit.ly/1I3hrse)

  • Our earth is currently home to 7.1 billion people and it is predicted that by 2050, the world’s population will reach over 9 billion people.
  • At present 17% of the population lives on less than $1.25 per day. 

Hunger Statistics from the World Food Programme (http://bit.ly/1hRW27Q)

  • Some 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That's about one in nine people on earth.
  • The vast majority of the world's hungry people live in developing countries, where 13.5 percent of the population is undernourished.
  • Asia is the continent with the most hungry people - two thirds of the total. The percentage in southern Asia has fallen in recent years but in western Asia it has increased slightly.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest prevalence (percentage of population) of hunger. One person in four there is undernourished.
  • Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five - 3.1 million children each year.
  • One out of six children -- roughly 100 million -- in developing countries is underweight.
  • One in four of the world's children are stunted. In developing countries the proportion can rise to one in three.
  • If women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million.
  • 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone.

Pets in the United States (http://nbcnews.to/1JdLSXh)

  • The American Pet Products Association estimates $60.59 billion will be spent on pets in 2015, up about 25 percent from five years ago.

 

Prayers of Intercession

Response: Lord, help us work together for justice.

For all those who are suffering from hunger today, we pray….

For all farmers and farmworkers who do not have the land, resources, and opportunities to produce the food which they and the world need, we pray….

For those struggling because of the current droughts and the current flooding around our nation and world, we pray….

For those without employment and income so as to buy the food they need for themselves and their families, we pray…..

For government officials and political leaders that they may advance policies and programs that will help everyone to get enough to eat, we pray….

For those who own and manage the corporations and farms that produce our food, we pray…..

 

Prayer - Meditation

A Prayer for Thanksgiving and Sharing

Thanks for the abundance, help up to share

Thanks for the water that helps all to grow, help us to share.

Thanks for the land that allows us to plant, help us to share.

Thanks for the air that lets us all breathe, help us to share.

Thanks for the knowledge that lets us produce, help us to share it.

Thank for the seeds that allow us to plant, help us to share them.

Thanks for the harvest that we have been given, help us to share it.

Thanks for the transportation that we may move our food, help us to share.

Thanks for the Spirit that lets us share all that we are.  Amen.

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The Prayer for Peace 

The Prayer for Peace began to circulate in 1981 in England. Its source is not clearly known, and it has no ties with any single denomination or faith.  It can be found in various languages at: http://bit.ly/1I3N4A6.

 

Images

Christ of the Breadlines by Fritz Eichenberg  

The Last Supper by Fritz Eichenberg