Lectionary Reflections: Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time [b] August 30, 2015

Engaging Faith | Fri, Aug 21, 2015

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]

August 30, 2015

Copyright © 2015 Center of Concern


Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8

James 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27

Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23



August 29: International Day against Nuclear Tests   

August 30: International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances  

September 1: World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation

September 7: Labor Day in the United States



The world's wealth is growing in absolute terms, but inequalities are on the increase. 

-Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 22

The acquisition of worldly goods can lead people to greed, to the unrelenting desire for more, to the pursuit of greater personal power. Rich and poor alike — be they individuals, families or nations — can fall prey to avarice and soul stifling materialism. … Neither individuals nor nations should regard the possession of more and more goods as the ultimate objective.  …  The exclusive pursuit of material possessions prevents people’s growth as human beings and stands in opposition to true grandeur. Avarice, in individuals and in nations, is the most obvious form of stultified moral development. 

-Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 18

Individual initiative alone and the interplay of competition will not ensure satisfactory development. We cannot proceed to increase the wealth and power of the rich while we entrench the needy in their poverty and add to the woes of the oppressed.

-Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 33

If prosperous nations continue to be jealous of their own advantage alone, they will jeopardize their highest values, sacrificing the pursuit of excellence to the acquisition of possessions.

-Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 49

We cherish this hope: that distrust and selfishness among nations will eventually be overcome by a stronger desire for mutual collaboration and a heightened sense of solidarity.

-Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 64

Our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. 

-Pope Francis, Laudato Si, 1


Thoughts for your consideration

The scriptures today invite us to look within ourselves and within our society and consider whether we have our values in order – whether are priorities are right.  

  • Moses exhorts the people to be sure that they are following the wisdom of the God who liberated them and led them from slavery to freedom.
  • James reminds everyone:  “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. … Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
  • Jesus responds to the Pharisees by pointing out their preoccupation with laws and traditions rather than be what is really important. What is important to look at is what leads to “evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, and folly.”

The social teaching of the church challenges us as did Moses, James and Jesus, so that we do not lose sight of what is really important.  God is concerned with justice and peace.  God is concerned with the poor and most vulnerable of our world.  God is concerned with peace in the world. God is concerned with a religious faith or spirituality which liberates the world.  God wants us to work for what is right – things like quality affordable healthcare for all, equality for all people – men and women, living wages for all workers, an end to violence and war, care for the earth, respect for the creation, and respect for life.


For Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

  • In our public life what things seem to be leading us to “evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, and folly?”


  • What do you feel are some important examples of how the values of our culture or nation are ‘out of order’ or not consistent with our religious belief?


  • In his recent encyclical, Pope Francis, calls the earth “our common home.”   Share examples of people who seem to be doing a good job at respecting our common home.



The Farmer’s Corn

A farmer, whose corn always took the first prize at the state fair, had the habit of sharing his best corn seed with all the farmers in the neighborhood.  When asked why, he said, “It is really a matter of self-interest.  The wind picks up the pollen and carries it from field to field.  So if my neighbors grow inferior corn the cross pollination brings down the quality of my own corn.  That is why I am concerned that they plant only the very best.”

By Anthony DeMello, S.J., The Prayer of the Frog, Volume 2


“Crazy Facts”

  • Each year 15 million girls are forced to marry as children (
    • “According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF) 700 million women alive today were married as children” and 
    • “One in three girls will marry before her eighteenth birthday.”
    • This can lead to “an end to their education, an increased risk of violence and sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, and days spent doing household chores and serving spouses, in-laws and, soon, children of their own, who are more likely to die during the dangerous and painful process of childbirth [...]”


Actions - Links

Pope designates September 1 as World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation

The Girl Effect

  • “The Girl Effect is […] about the unique potential of adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves and the world.”
  • “Insights show that when you take a holistic approach to improving a girl's life through education, health, safety and opportunity, these changes have a positive ripple effect.”
  • “As an educated mother, an active, productive citizen and a prepared employee, she is the most influential force in her community to break the cycle of poverty.”
  • “An educated girl will reinvest 90 per cent of her future income in her family, compared with 35 per cent for a boy.”
  • “[…] 250 million adolescent girls live in poverty and are more likely than boys to be uneducated, to be married at a young age, and to be exposed to HIV/AIDS.”



Prayers of Intersession

Response: God, help us to be doers of the word.

God, in a world of so many divisions, we pray for an end to all racism, prejudice, and discrimination.  We pray….

God, in a world of so much war and terrorism, we pray for peace between all nations and people.  We pray for a spirit of dialogue and understanding.  We pray….

God, in a world where many do not have access to a good education, we pray all our children (girls as well as boys) will have all that they need to learn and reach their full potential as children of God.  We pray…..

God, in a world with so much income inequality, we pray for just and living wages for all workers. We pray….

God, in a nation where so many people do not have dependable access to health care, we pray that universal, affordable healthcare will be available for everyone. We pray….

God, in a world where so many people do not enjoy their basic human rights, we pray that women and men will be so free to enjoy their dignity as children of God.  We pray….

God, in a world were not everyone has employment with a decent wage, we pray for the rights and respect of workers.  We pray….

God, in a world that is being destroyed by human behaviors, we pray that we may discern how to care for our common home. We pray….

God, we pray that with your help we may all be doers of the word.  We pray….


Prayer - Meditation

"Countless millions are starving, countless families are destitute, countless men are steeped in ignorance; countless people need schools, hospitals, and homes worthy of the name. In such circumstances, we cannot tolerate public and private expenditures of a wasteful nature; we cannot but condemn lavish displays of wealth by nations or individuals; we cannot approve a debilitating arms race."

-Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 53

Countless millions are starving.  

O God, teach us what to do and lead us into action.


Countless families are destitute.  

O God, give us the grace of solidarity and help us to create a new world.


Countless people are steeped in ignorance.  

O God, teach us to share our wisdom with each other.


Countless people need schools, hospitals, and homes worthy of the name.  

O God, help us create a world where people have what they need.


Countless “dollars” are wasted by nations and individuals.

O God, teach us to share what we have with one another.


Countless nations amass countless guns, bullets, planes and ships.

O God, teach us to be people of peace and justice for all.