Engaging Faith | Mon, Jun 17, 2013
Lectionary Reflections: Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time [c] June 23.2013
Zechariah 12:10-11; 13:1
June 19: Juneteenth http://www.juneteenth.com/
June 20: World Refugee Day http://www.worldrefugeeday.us/site/c.arKKI1MLIjI0E/b.8092105/k.B369/Worl...
June 21: Start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere
June 26: International Day in Support of Victims of Torture http://www.un.org/en/events/torturevictimsday/
“In a world in which a lot is said about rights, how often is human dignity actually trampled upon! In a world in which so much is said about rights, it seems that the only thing that has any rights is money. Dear brothers and sisters, we are living in a world where money commands. We are living in a world, in a culture where the fixation on money holds sway.”
- Pope Francis, address to the Plenary of the Pontifical Council
for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, Friday, 24 May 2013
“We must make haste. Too many people are suffering. While some make progress, others stand still or move backwards; and the gap between them is widening.”
- Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 29
“It is by uniting his own sufferings for the sake of truth and freedom to the sufferings of Christ on the Cross that a human person is able to accomplish the miracle of peace and is in a position to discern the often narrow path between the cowardice which gives in to evil and the violence which, under the illusion of fighting evil, only makes it worse… A human person is alienated if he refuses to transcend himself and to live the experience of self giving and of the formation of an authentic human community oriented towards his final destiny, which is God.”
- Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 25, 41
“The whole human race suffers as a result of environmental blight, and generations yet unborn will bear the price for the failure to act today.”
- United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, “An Invitation to Reflection and Action on Environment in Light of Catholic Social Teaching,” November 14, 1991
“I believe that we have much to learn about Jesus’ passion from the sufferings of those more accessible to us and that it is profoundly unhealthy to concentrate upon Jesus’ suffering while ignoring the cruelty and torture which are endemic in our world.”
- Sheila Cassidy, “Good Friday People”
Thoughts for your consideration
In the gospel today, Jesus predicts his rejection, suffering and death. He goes on to say: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Followers of Jesus can expect some of the same.
Today, we might reflect on the challenge of following Jesus in our contemporary world. The values and concerns of the world around us are not always those of Jesus. Sometimes our culture seems to value possessions and wealth over the needs of people, military and political power over nonviolent love, and personal welfare and security before the needs of those who are poor. With Jesus we too may experience rejection and suffering.
We might also reflect on the reality of suffering in our world. The suffering of Jesus is connected with the suffering of the world and its people – people of all times and places – especially the poor and powerless. It is connected with the suffering of the people of Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. It is connected with the suffering of people in the poorest of nations, places like Haiti and the Congo. It is connected with the experience of those who are homeless and are refugees. It is connected with all those who are denied human rights. It is connected with the lives of all those who experience racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination. It is connected with the suffering of our planet as it deals with overuse and exploitation. As Jesus speaks of his rejection and suffering, we are called into a deeper awareness of life and its sorrows and also into a deeper desire to work for an end to injustice and suffering. We are called to a deep solidarity with our God and a deep solidarity with each other.
In today’s selection from Galatians, we find a special reminder of the inclusive character of the Christian life. Paul writes that for the followers of Jesus, “There is neither Jew nor Greek,
there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female.” We might reflect today the numerous realities of discrimination and prejudice in our world. We might reflect on the treatment of women in our world and our church, the existence of racism in our culture, on tensions between various religious or ethnic groups, and all the ways that we exclude people who are different from ourselves.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith-Sharing Group
Where do you see the suffering of people in our world?
Where do you see discrimination and prejudice in our world?
Where do you encounter persecution or discrimination in your local community?
At this link you will find stories of immigrants and refugees:
Actions - Links
June 26 is the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
The National Religious Campaign Against Torture: http://www.nrcat.org
The Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International: http://www.tassc.org
TASSC June Survivor Week is June 20 – 26.
Join the American Friends Service Committee to speak up about Pentagon spending:
In 2011, there were 15.2 million refugees around the world, including 4.8 million Palestinian refugees, and it is estimated that 80 percent of refugees are women and children. According to the U.N. Refugee Agency, the leading countries of origin for refugees in 2011 were:
Afghanistan: 2.7 million
Iraq: 1.4 million
Somalia: 1.1 million
Prayers of Intercession
Response: God of compassion, hear our prayer.
For those who are immigrants to our country, we pray…
For refugees throughout the world who long for freedom and safety, we pray…
For all those in prison and for those who have recently been released, we pray...
For all those who have been victimized by torture, we pray…
For all those who live in places of war and terrorism, we pray...
For our planet as it deals with abusive human behavior and environmental sin, we pray…
For those who are unemployed or underemployed or underpaid, we pray…
For all those with wealth and power, that they may have the freedom to use their gifts for what is right and good, we pray…
A Prayer for Refugees
The following is taken from http://www.invitationtoprayer.org/prayers_refugees.html
Almighty and merciful God,
whose Son became a refugee
and had no place to call his own;,
look with mercy on those who today
are fleeing from danger,
homeless and hungry.
Bless those who work to bring them relief;
inspire generosity and compassion in all our hearts;
and guide the nations of the world towards that day
when all will rejoice in your Kingdom of justice and of peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer - Meditation
The following is from a prayer for peace, weaving the thoughts of St. Francis of Assisi and the Indian poet Tagore, shared by actor-activist Martin Sheen.
"Lord, make us instruments of your peace."
We are left empty and trembling at the level of confidence placed in power and violence, and the level of arrogance it has inspired in our national leadership. And so Lord, we beg you, descend with us into the depths of our powerlessness and fear, and awaken there, Lord, the power of non-violent transformation, where we may discover fire for the second time. And then, Lord, let the light from that fire make every thought, word and deed a reflection of loving, non-violent resistance to every wretched form of violence, so that we may be made worthy of the long-promised blessings reserved for the peacemakers and those who show mercy.
"Lord, make us instruments of your peace."
Lord, we pray you make us instruments of your peace so we may lift up the world and all its people to a place where their heart is without fear, and their head is held high, where knowledge is free, where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow, domestic wars, where words come out from the depths of truth, where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection, where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sands of dead habit, where the mind is led forward by Thee into every thought and action into that heaven of freedom.
My Father, let my country awake!
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