Lectionary Reflections: Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time [c] July 21, 2013

Engaging Faith | Mon, Jul 15, 2013

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time [c]

July 21, 2013


Genesis 18:1-10a

Colossians 1:24-28

Luke 10:38-42



July 18: Birthday of Nelson Mandela

July 22: Feast of Mary of Magdala, Apostle to the Apostles



“It is not wrong to want to live better; what is wrong is a style of life which is presumed to be better when it is directed towards ‘having’ rather than ‘being,’ and which wants to have more, not in order to be more but in order to spend life in enjoyment as an end in itself. It is therefore necessary to create life-styles in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of common growth are the factors which determine consumer choices, savings and investments.”

- Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 36

“It is useless to admit that a person has a right to the necessities of life, unless we also do all in our power to supply him/her with means sufficient for his/her livelihood.” 

- Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris 32

“The rush and pressure of modern life are a form of its innate violence. To allow myself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns. To surrender to too many projects, to want to help everyone in to succumb to violence. The frenzy of the activist... destroys the fruitfulness of one's own work because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”

- Thomas Merton

“It is important that whatever we propose, with the help of God, should be profoundly rooted in contemplation and prayer. Ours is a time of continual movement which often leads to restlessness, with the risk of ‘doing for the sake of doing.’ We must resist this temptation by trying ‘to be’ before trying ‘to do.’ In this regard we should recall how Jesus reproved Martha: ‘You are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful’ (Lk 10:41-42). In this spirit, before setting out a number of practical guidelines for your consideration, I wish to share with you some points of meditation on the mystery of Christ, the absolute foundation of all our pastoral activity.”

- Pope John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte, 15

“It is fitting to reflect on our responsibility to cultivate and care for the earth in accordance with God’s command (cf. Gen 2:15). We are called not only to respect the natural environment, but also to show respect for, and solidarity with, all the members of our human family. … Consumerism and a ‘culture of waste’ have led some of us to tolerate the waste of precious resources, including food, while others are literally wasting away from hunger.

- Pope Francis, June 5, 2013


Thoughts for your consideration

The gospel today speaks to those in our society who have fallen into the trap of overwork or to those who consider the only value to be the maximum production of some product or service. The gospel seems to be addressed to those who have placed work before relationship – to those who have placed things before people.

The stress we encounter in our culture and the demands that we encounter in our lives have limited our ability to be hospitable – to take time for people – to put into practice the ideals that are modeled by the hospitality of Sarah and Abraham and by the hospitality of Mary in the gospel.

The stress and busyness of our lives can prevent us from living in a contemplative way – a contemplative way toward God and a respectful, contemplative way toward our neighbor and our world. We can make the mistake of focusing on consumption and possessions.

Our contemporary world places lots of demands on our goodness. War and terrorism continue.  One-fifth of the children in our country are living in poverty. A great many adults are unemployed. Banks and corporations seem to be doing much better than ordinary citizens. The politics of our world have created millions of refugees. So many people are barely making it. So many people need the basics of good food, adequate shelter and decent clothing. So many people are not treated with dignity.  Intolerance and discrimination continue. The environment is under stress. Scientists continue to remind us that our way of life is causing global warming and other long-term damage to the planet.  

As we address any of these concerns, the scriptures today remind us that all people should be treated as unique and precious human beings who are entitled to share in the bounty of the world.

The scriptures remind us that we are invited to be more contemplative.  As we become more contemplative, we may learn to deal with people with greater dignity and we may even learn to deal with the planet in a more loving and healthy way.  

We hope that our service of one another will not be based on guilt. Rather, it will be most powerful if it is based on our relationship with God and with others. The passage from Colossians proclaims that the mystery we now realize is that “Christ is in you.” Christ is in me and you and all our brothers and sisters. Our service must respect this mystery and our service must rejoice in the mystery of Christ in each and every person.


Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

Share a story of when you most powerfully experienced hospitality.  

What is it that made you feel most welcomed?


When have you had a chance to contemplate the mystery and wonder and beauty of nature?

How did this help you renew your relationships and relationship with the world?



Kindness of the Farmer:

Once, a king's army was returning from a battle. It ran out of food. The king asked his soldiers to go to a nearby village and get the grains. Some soldiers and their commander entered the village and met a farmer. The commander asked him, "Dear farmer, can you lead us to this village's largest field?"

He took them to a large field. The commander ordered his soldiers, "Cut and collect all the grains." At this, the farmer got scared. He said, "Sir, come and I'll show you another field."

The soldiers went with him to a small field. They collected the grains from that field. The commander asked the farmer why he led them to this field. The farmer replied, "That field belongs to someone else. How could I let you destroy it? This is my field and here I can allow you to do what I wish."

The king learnt of the farmer's kind concern for others and paid him handsomely for his grains.


Actions - Links 

Celebrating the Feast of Mary Magdalen 

Future Church has been promoting a renewed celebration of Mary Magdalen as a model to help us recognize the gifts of women in the church and the world. It encourages celebrations on her feast day, July 22. For information go to

Celebrating and Caring for Creation

The Environmental Justice Program calls Catholics to a deeper respect for God’s creation and engages parishes in activities that deal with environmental problems, particularly as they affect the poor.

Also see the Catholic Climate Covenant at


“Crazy Facts”

“Home care workers, the people who provide one-on-one care to help elderly people and those with disabilities lead fuller lives, are excluded from the minimum wage and overtime law that protects most workers.  The exemption from (Fair Labor Standards Act) protections has taken a direct toll on the quality of life for home care workers and their employers alike. 

The median hourly wage for both personal care and home health care workers is below $10 an hour; at around $20,830, their mean annual wage is well below the U.S. average of $45,790. 

Many direct care providers earn significantly less than the industry average due to an inability to find full time work, earnings below minimum wage, and forced unpaid overtime. It is estimated that 46 percent of direct care workers live below 200 percent of the poverty line, making them eligible for federal benefits such as Medicaid and food assistance, though the real number of working families living in poverty with one member employed as a direct care provider could be much higher.”


Prayers of Intercession

Response: Spirit of God, fill our lives with your goodness.

For the grace to be hospitable to all, especially those in need, we pray….

For the spirit what will honor the dignity and good in all people, we pray….

For all employees to enjoy a living wage and proper working conditions, we pray….

For the strength to be people of active nonviolence in the midst of a violent world, we pray….

For the wisdom to welcome refugees and immigrants, we pray….

For the passion to care for children in need, we pray….

For the energy to care for and learn from the elderly, we pray….

For the ability to live simply and to respect our home the earth, we pray….



Prayer of Cardinal Newman

May God support us all the day long

till the shadows lengthen

and the evening comes

and the busy world is hushed

and the fever of life is over

and our work is done -

then in mercy -

may God give us a safe lodging

and a holy rest

and peace at the last.



A Time to vacate!

A Time to let the Spirit take over!

A Time to live and be alive!

A Time to connect with people!

A Time to be still!

A Time to be yourself!

A Time to learn how to live!

A Time to read and sleep and pray and be and walk and “retreat!”

A Time to advance!

A Time for peace!

A Time for justice!

A Time not to be lazy - not to be decadent - not to be a consumer!

A Time to learn about others and self!

A Time to be in touch with what is really important!

A Time to be!

A Time to learn to be!

God, help me to keep it simple.

God, help me to vacation!

Amen! Amen! 



Copyright © 2013, Center of Concern