Lectionary Reflections: Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time [c] July 28, 2013

Engaging Faith | Mon, Jul 22, 2013

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time [c]

July 28, 2013


Genesis 18:20-32

Colossians 2:12-14

Luke 11:1-13



July 23-28: World Youth Day in Brazil

July 30: The International Day of Friendship

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



“We are closer to God when we are asking questions than when we think we have the answers.”

- Rabbi Abraham Heschel 


“Saint Ignatius of Loyola was convinced that God's Spirit works in just these subtle ways, that God's invitation is heard not only in moments of peak experience, but especially in human talents and needs, in specific opportunities and seemingly random requests. Ignatius’ favorite image of God was as ‘Director of Souls,’ the One who works subtly in all things but especially in the roots of human experience and community to heal the world and bring it into union with God. Ignatius also believed that God's call always leads to struggle against the powerful forces of riches, honors and pride that oppress the world in every age. Those who enter that struggle will find that Jesus Christ is the companion who struggles alongside them to free the world from sin and oppression. Intimacy with Christ is not found on the sidelines, but by those who plunge into the struggle because that is where He is.”

- Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J.


“Are human beings the only ones who weep and groan, or can this also be predicated of the holy mystery of God who cherishes the beloved world?”

- Elizabeth Johnson, “She Who Is,” p. 246


“How many of us, myself included, have lost our bearings; we are no longer attentive to the world in which we live; we don’t care; we don’t protect what God created for everyone, and we end up unable even to care for one another!”

- Pope Francis, Lampedusa, Italy, July 8, 2013


“No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There's too much work to do.” 

- Dorothy Day


“Our mission demands that we should courageously denounce injustice, with charity, prudence and firmness, in sincere dialogue with all parties concerned.”   

- 1971 Bishop’s Synod, “Justice in the World,” 57


Thoughts for your consideration

Figuring out how to live the Christian life in our complex world can be quite an adventure. It takes time to figure out the route. It takes time to undertake the trip. Figuring out how to work for justice and peace is a journey and an adventure. To use the images of the gospel, it involves a lot of asking, seeking, and knocking. It is something that is worked out over time in the midst of ambiguity and struggle. It is best supported by a community of faith, hope and love.

The Scriptures today remind us not to be afraid of the search for justice and peace. Don’t be afraid of bargaining with God, just as Abraham sought out justice for the people of his time. Don’t be afraid of seeking out something of importance. Don’t be afraid of making your needs known. Don’t be afraid of making known the needs of the poor and the powerless. Don’t be afraid of asking questions. Don’t be afraid of asking why. Don’t be afraid of engaging the many important concerns of the world.

Abraham spoke to God. So can you. 

You can speak truth to power. 

We can all speak truth to power.

Searching is part of implementing Catholic Social Teaching.  No one of us knows all the answers. No one of us can fix the whole world and its problems. However, all of us can and do have a courage and faith that comes from our relationship with our God. Great things are possible.  As Pope John Paul II wrote a few years ago: “Rediscover today with joy and wonder that the world is no longer a slave to the inevitable. This world of ours can change.”

Speaking up is part of implementing Catholic Social Teaching. We are called to speak up when we see injustice. We are called to share what we know. We are called to take a stand for what is right.  We might read Pope Francis’ recent homily in Lampedusa, Italy, about refugees and our care for one another at


Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

In the context of peace and justice, what are the biggest areas of frustration for you?  

What are the injustices that most strongly call out for change?


What has been your experience of speaking up about injustice?

Have you had success?  Have you had failure or frustration?



Peace activist Malala Yousafzai was 14 years old when she was shot in the head in an assassination attempt in the Swat Valley of Pakistan. Yousafzai became known as an advocate for girls' schools in 2009, when she wrote for the BBC about life in her hometown under the rule of conservative militants in the Taliban. Learn more at 

Check out her blog and biography at:


Listen to her powerful United Nations speech at:


Read the text of her speech at:

“The terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions but nothing changed in my life except this: Weakness fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.”


Actions – Links

Speak up to Congress about the need for immigration reform:

The Jesuit Conference Secretariat for Social and International Ministries (SIM) supports members of the Society of Jesus and the Ignatian family in their social justice concerns, empowering them to act upon those concerns by coordination and education. The secretariat advocates on behalf of the voiceless on matters of social concern before government and corporate institutions. It also represents the U.S. Assistancy internationally. SIM seeks to fulfill its mission for the Jesuit Provincials of the United States in collaboration with the 28 Jesuit Colleges and Universities, more than 60 high schools and middle schools, 80 parishes and 28 retreat houses, in addition to individual social ministry efforts.  You can check it out at: 

The World Health Organization estimates that one in three women worldwide will experience sexual or physical violence. Speak up at:


“Crazy Facts”

“Nowhere in America does a dollar go farther than in Hanson County, S.D.. But even there, a worker still needs to earn nearly $3 more than the minimum wage to get by.”  Read more at


Prayers of Intercession

Response:  God, help us to create a world of justice and peace.

For those caught up in many wars and terrorist actions around our world, we pray….

For those caught up in the struggles in Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Congo and so many other places around the world, we pray….

For all those who are denied their basic human rights by political authorities, we pray….

For those who have become refugees fleeing terror and violence in their homeland, we pray….

For children, especially girls, who are denied an education, we pray…

For those who don’t have enough to eat, we pray….

For those who are homeless, we pray….



God, sometimes I don’t know what to seek.

God, sometimes I find myself trying to seek everything. 


God, I want justice for the poor.

God, I want food for the hungry.

God, I want hospitality for refugees.

God, I want equality for all women.

God, I want good education for all our children.


God, I want an end to all the wars.

God, I want an end of all terrorism.

God, I want peace and nonviolence to be the way everywhere.


God, I want everyone to get good health care.

God, I want an end to the death penalty.

God, I want an end of all crime.

God, I want justice in the marketplace.


God, I want an end to the recession.

God, I want an end to unemployment.

God, I want good housing for everyone.

God, I want an economy that works for the common good of all the people.


God, I want an end to those human behaviors that cause global warming.

God, I want a stop to all those behaviors that dirty our air and our water.

God, I want universal respect for the environment.


God, I want an end to rape and sexual abuse.

God, I want to end all that violates the sacredness of life.

God, I want the courage to act for justice.


God, I want it all!


God, help us to do what is right.

God, help us to be a community of justice and peace.

God, help us all.  Amen.


The Risen Christ signals the paths of hope 

along which we can advance together 

toward a world more just and mutually supportive, 

in which the blind egoism of the few 

will not prevail over the cries of pain of the many, 

reducing entire peoples 

to conditions of degrading misery. 


May the message of life proclaimed by the angel 

near the stone rolled back from the tomb 

overturn the hardness of our hearts; 

may it lead to removing unjustified barriers 

and promote a fruitful exchange between peoples and cultures. 


May the image of the new man, 

shining on the face of Christ, 

cause everyone to acknowledge 

the inalienable value of human life; 

may it encourage effective responses 

to the increasingly felt demand 

for justice and equal opportunity 

in all areas of society; 

may it impel individuals and states 

to full respect for the essential and authentic rights 

rooted in the very nature of the human person. 

- Urbi et Orbi message of Pope John Paul II

  April 23, 2000 




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