Engaging Faith | Thu, Jun 18, 2015
Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time [b]
June 21, 2015
Copyright © 2015 Center of Concern
Job 38:1, 8-11
2 Corinthians 5:14-17
June 18: Expected date for the publication of the encyclical on the environment
June 18: Expected start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan
June 19: Juneteenth, African American Emancipation Day, a celebration of end of slavery in the U.S. - http://www.juneteenth.com/
June 20: World Refugee Day - http://www.un.org/en/events/refugeeday/
June 21: Summer Solstice
June 21: Father’s Day in the United States
June 26: International Day in Support of Victims and Survivors of Torture
Christ’s resurrection is not an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this world. Where all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection suddenly spring up. It is an irresistible force. Often it seems that God does not exist: all around us we see persistent injustice, evil, indifference and cruelty. But it is also true that in the midst of darkness something new always springs to life and sooner or later produces fruit.
- Pope Francis, Evangelli Gaudium, 276
Violence and injustice in the form of massive poverty, sexism, racism, and war destroy the lives of millions of human beings who die before their time. The radical transformation of crushing structures and murderous situations does not happen automatically but only through human effort that through active nonviolent resistance struggles for justice and against suffering. … In addition to cosmic and social renewal, Spirit-Sophia’s deeds take place when the life of every person is renewed. Jaded, discouraged, hurt, exhausted, worried, people have need for comfort, healing and new enthusiasm for life that arises every day. Nonviolently, but persistently the Spirit who dwells at the center of personal existence creates a clean heart, a new spirit, a heart of flesh and compassion instead of a stony heart (Ez. 36:26).
- Elizabeth Johnson CSJ, She Who Is
We renew our call for a new kind of politics--focused on moral principles not on the latest polls, on the needs of the poor and vulnerable not the contributions of the rich and powerful, and on the pursuit of the common good not the demands of special interests.
- Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility
How will our society combat continuing prejudice, overcome hostility toward immigrants and refugees, and heal the wounds of racism, religious bigotry, and other forms of discrimination?
How will our nation pursue the values of justice and peace in a world where injustice is common, desperate poverty widespread, and peace is too often overwhelmed by violence?
- Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility
Thoughts for your consideration
Life in our contemporary world can feel like being with the disciples in the midst of the storm on the lake. It can feel overwhelming. Parker Palmer in his book, A Hidden Wholeness, talks about living through a storm or blizzard. “It swirls around us as economic injustice, ecological ruin, physical and spiritual violence, and their inevitable outcome, war. It swirls within us as fear and frenzy, greed and deceit, and indifference to the suffering of others.”
We can feel discouraged by all sorts of things: by politics—by the economic recession—by our financial system—by our wars that seems to go on and on—by all sorts of violence—by tax policies—by people who lie to us—by politicians who are not honest—by a church that is all too human and sinful—by our inability to change things or even to figure out what changes to make.
The scriptures today call us not to be afraid of the storm.
The scriptures call us to remember that ultimately God is in charge.
The scriptures call us to a faith that works for justice and renewal.
No election, no change in government, no single change in law, and no one thing can make things perfect or can completely fix our problems. At the same time, we can make a difference in our world and in the lives of people. We must not give up or despair. God is ultimately in charge and God’s spirit empowers us. God blesses us with the courage to “get into the boat and go to the other side.” We can face problems, ask questions, get involved, engage in the issues of our time, and speak up for what is right.
“However dark things are, goodness always re-emerges and spreads. Each day in our world beauty is born anew, it rises transformed through the storms of history.” (Pope Francis, Evangelli Gaudium, 276)
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
* When have you felt overwhelmed by the events of the world?
* When have you felt overwhelmed by injustice in the world?
* “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”
* As a person of faith, how have you been reacting to the recent encyclical from Pope Francis on ecology and the environment?
Actions - Links
June: World Refugee Awareness Month
June 20: World Refugee Day
* “The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is an international Catholic organization with a mission to accompany, serve and advocate on behalf of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. JRS undertakes services at national and regional levels with the support of an international office in Rome. Founded in November 1980 as a work of the Society of Jesus, JRS was officially registered on 19 March 2000 at the Vatican State as a foundation.” http://www.jrs.net/
In the United States, “The mission of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is to accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons.” http://jrsusa.org/
Consider urging President Obama to end family: http://bit.ly/1JYxveU
June: Torture Awareness Month
* The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is a membership organization committed to ending U.S.-sponsored torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Find out more and sign their statement of conscience at: http://www.nrcat.org
The Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC) is an organization founded by and for torture survivors. “The mission of TASSC is to end the practice of torture wherever it occurs and to empower survivors, their families and communities wherever they are.” For more info about their activities and actions go to: http://tassc.org .
June 18: publication of the encyclical on ecology and the environment
* The Catholic Climate Covenant has been reporting: “The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis’s long-awaited encyclical on ecology will be released on June 18. It has been widely reported that the title of the encyclical will be Laudato Si, and have the subtitle Sulla cura della casa comune. Laudato Si is translated as Praised be, and is a hallmark line from St. Francis’ Canticle of the Creatures. Sulla cura della casa comune is translated as On the care of the common home.”
* Find five things to look for in the document at: http://bit.ly/1CfXvKT
* Read “Getting ahead of the spin on the pope’s environmental encyclical” at: http://www.cruxnow.com/church/2015/06/05/getting-ahead-of-the-spin-on-the-popes-environmental-encyclical/
* Check out some thoughts on the Jesuit Post at https://thejesuitpost.org/2015/06/laudato-sii-pope-franciss-ecology-encyclical-is-almost-here/
“All three major global surface temperature reconstructions show that Earth has warmed since 1880.5 Most of this warming has occurred since the 1970s, with the 20 warmest years having occurred since 1981 and with all 10 of the warmest years occurring in the past 12 years.6 Even though the 2000s witnessed a solar output decline resulting in an unusually deep solar minimum in 2007-2009, surface temperatures continue to increase.”
Since 9/11 the costs of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have totaled over 4 trillion dollars. http://costsofwar.org/article/economic-cost-summary
Prayers of Intercession
Response: Lord, help us all in the midst of the storms.
On this Father’s Day, for all our fathers and in thanksgiving for all that they try to do for us, we pray….
For all fathers who are struggling with unemployment or underemployment and find it hard to care for their families, we pray….
For all fathers who are away from their children, especially those serving in places of war or separated in prisons, we pray….
For fathers who are immigrants or refugees, we pray….
For all our fathers who have died, we pray….
For a renewed commitment by all of us to overcome economic injustice, ecological ruin, and physical and spiritual violence, we pray….
Prayer – Meditation
The following peace prayer is from the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.
Loving God, you inspire us with love for all persons
and concern for the well-being of all creation.
Give us today the strength and courage
to transform the compassion of our hearts
into acts of peace, mercy, and justice.
Forgive us for the arrogance that leads to moral blindness,
for desires for vengeance and retaliation,
and for willingness to sacrifice others for our own security and avarice.
Help us to renounce all forms of violence:
prejudice, unfair allegations, intolerance, and injury.
Give us the courage to resist threatening postures,
calls to arms, mobilization of troops and weapons, and
all actions that threaten the lives and livelihoods of innocent people.
Empower us to live out the caring presence
of the merciful and generous persons we claim to be.
Make us channels of your peace, bearers of healing,
women and men who hear and respond with alacrity
to pleas for justice in our world.
We ask all this in the name of Jesus
Who came among us to show us the way.