Engaging Faith | Tue, Nov 5, 2013
Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time [c]
November 10, 2013
Copyright © 2013, Center of Concern
2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14
2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5
Luke 20:27-38 or 20:27, 34-38
Nov. 11: Veterans Day
Nov. 15: America Recycles Day
Nov. 16: Anniversary of the murders of six Jesuits and two women in El Salvador in 1989
“God is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”
- Luke 20:38
“Alienation – and the loss of the authentic meaning of life – is a reality in Western societies too. This happens in consumerism, when people are ensnared in a web of false and superficial gratifications rather than being helped to experience their personhood in an authentic and concrete way.”
- John Paul II, Centesius Annus, 41
“We are struck by the incredible busyness of family life that can take its toll on loving relationships. Daily we observe families overwhelmed by the demands of work, business travel, household tasks, getting to and from school, keeping appointments... Where choices exist, hours on the job need to be weighed against their impact on family life. To thrive, love requires attention, communication and time... It is hard to imagine how a family can live faithfully, be life giving and grow in mutuality without deliberately choosing to spend time together. It is especially important for couples to have time alone...So each of us needs to ask: to what am I giving my precious time? What are my priorities?”
- Follow the Way of Love, U.S. Bishops
“Respect for nature by everyone, a policy of openness to immigrants, the cancellation or significant reduction of the debt of poorer nations, the promotion of peace through dialogue and negotiation, the primacy of the rule of law: these are the priorities which the leaders of the developed nations cannot disregard. A global world is essentially a world of solidarity!… A free and virtuous society, which America aspires to be, must reject practices that devalue and violate human life at any stage from conception until natural death.”
- Pope John Paul II, Address to George W. Bush, July 23, 2001
“Today, the same Christ is in people who are unwanted, unemployed, uncared for, hungry, naked, and homeless. They seem useless to the state and to society; nobody has time for them. It is you and I as Christians, worthy of the love of Christ if our love is true, who must find them, and help them; they are there for the finding.”
- Mother Teresa
Thoughts for your consideration
The readings today challenge us to ask a question. What is really important?
Is it the legalism that we observe in the question posed by the Sadducees? Is it the unwavering religious faith in the midst of persecution that we see in the mother and seven sons in the first reading? Is it a faith in the resurrection from the dead and an afterlife? Is it what Paul calls grace, which will “encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word?” Is it found in what we say we believe? Is it found in how we act?
In the gospel today, Jesus seems to be saying that it is to be found in more than just the immediate things around us – in what we consume or in the wealth or status that we accumulate. Jesus seems to be saying that it is to be found in more than just the afterlife – in some other world that is still to come. Jesus seems to say that what is important is to be found in the here and now as well as in the past and the future.
In Luke 20:38, in his affirmation of life, Jesus challenges us to promote life today. He calls us to do this in our efforts to end war and violence, in our promotion of a culture of life, in our work to ensure that the poor and the rich all have an equal chance to live a healthy and complete life, in our practice of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, in our special concern for the poor and vulnerable, in our concern for refugees and the homeless, in our speaking up for justice for everyone, in all of our involvements in the important justice issues of our day, in our challenge to those whose actions threaten life, and in our work to change the structures of society that cause death.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
When have your actions most reflected what you consider to be really important?
Share the story of some action that reflected your deepest values.
How are we being called to promote life in our society?
How can we make a world that more powerfully respects life, especially the life of those most vulnerable?
A story from the Desert Fathers:
Abba Lot came to Abba Joseph and said, “Father, according as I am able, I keep my little rule, and my little fast, my prayer, meditation and contemplative silence; and, according as I am able, I strive to cleanse my heart of thoughts: now what more should I do?”
The elder rose up in reply and stretched out his hands to heaven, and his fingers became like ten lamps of fire. He said, “Why not become fire?’”
Actions - Links
Oxfam is an international confederation of 14 organizations working together in 99 countries and with partners and allies around the world to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice. Find out more at http://www.oxfam.org/ or at http://www.oxfamamerica.org/
Check out action ideas at: http://www.oxfamamerica.org/whatyoucando/take-action
You can get more info about a “hunger banquet” or other event ideas at http://actfast.oxfamamerica.org/index.php/events/banquet
Ask Congress to oppose cuts to lifesaving foreign assistance programs at http://act.oxfamamerica.org/site/PageNavigator/ForeignAid_Survey.html?au...
The Jubilee Debt Campaign recently released a ‘report investigating the impact of debt and austerity, and campaigns for justice in Egypt, El Salvador, Greece, Jamaica, Latvia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Portugal and Tunisia. Download the report at
- Jamaica’s government spends more on foreign debt payments – 33 percent of its revenue – than Greece. As health spending has been slashed, the number of mothers dying in childbirth has almost doubled in the last 20 years.
- Greece is spending 29 percent of revenue on foreign debt payments. After four years of IMF and EU imposed austerity, the economy has shrunk by 25 percent, and 1.25 million people now live in severe material deprivation.
- Pakistan has received temporary International Monetary Fund bailout loans for 30 of the past 42 years, yet the country still is spending 20 percent of revenue on foreign debt payments this year.
Prayers of Intercession
Response: Our God is a God of Life.
God, help us to put an end to war and violence.
God, help us to put an end to any torture by our governments.
God, help us to create a society of freedom for all.
God, help us to work for a world where everyone has enough to eat.
God, help us to work for a world where all have access to education.
God, help us in our care for refugees and the homeless.
God, help us to promote a culture of life everywhere.
God, inspire us to practice all the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
God, empower us to speak up for justice for everyone.
Giving life to all life,
Moving all creatures,
Root of all things,
Washing them clean,
Wiping out their mistakes,
Healing their wounds,
You are our true life,
Awakening the heart from its ancient sleep.
- Hildegard of Bingen
See more images at http://jubileedebt.org.uk/blog/debt-week-2013-photos