Engaging Faith | Mon, Sep 21, 2015
Twenty-sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]
September 27, 2015
Copyright © 2015 Center of Concern
Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
September 26: International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
September 27: Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, the "Great Apostle of Charity"
September 27 – October 4: Jewish celebration of Sukkot
October 1: International Day of Older Persons
October 2: International Day of Non-Violence
October 2: Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi
October 4: Feast of St. Francis of Assisi
All it takes is one good person to restore hope!
-Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, 71
God reveals himself to us as one who is not alone, but rather as one who is relational, one who is Trinity. Therefore, we who are made in God's image share this communal, social nature. We are called to reach out and to build relationships of love and justice. […] The Church's social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society. It offers moral principles and coherent values that are badly needed in our time. In this time of widespread violence and diminished respect for human life and dignity in our country and around the world, the Gospel of life and the biblical call to justice need to be proclaimed and shared with new clarity, urgency, and energy. […] Sharing our social tradition more fully and clearly is an essential way to bring good news, liberty, and new sight to a society and world in desperate need of God's justice and peace.
-U.S. Catholic Bishops, Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions
Among the most important duties of employers, the principal one is to give all workers what is justly due them. […] The rich and employers must remember that no laws, either human or divine, permit them for their own profit to oppress the needy and the wretched or to seek gain from another’s want. To defraud anyone of the wage due him/ her is a great crime that calls down avenging wrath from Heaven: Behold, the wages of the laborers…which have been kept back by you unjustly, cry out: and their cry has entered into the ears of the Lord of Hosts (Jas 5:4).
-Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum, 20
[…] The world is a gift which we have freely received and must share with others.
-Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, 159
Thoughts for Your Consideration
In the first reading from the book of Numbers, we see the seventy call into question the ministry of Eldad and Medad, even though Eldad and Medad clearly have been gifted by the spirit. Moses supports the work of Eldad and Medad and wishes that everyone was so filled with the spirit.
We must not forget that often times the work of God’s spirit is manifested in those who do not fit our categories. This story (along with the gospel) reminds us that God’s spirit is not bound by our categories.
We are called to respect the gifts of the spirit among all men and women in our church & world. It is a matter of justice. Racism and other discriminations are sins. We must not limit the spirit and the work of God to people of a certain gender, race, nation, ethnic group, religion, age, orientation, or other characteristic.
We are called to work together for a just world with all people—with the whole human family. It is in this spirit that Pope Francis writes, “The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change” (Laudato Si’, 13).
The letter of James is not afraid to address issues of social injustice.
The rich are chastised for oppressing their workers. Our social teaching is clear. All workers desire a living wage. Sweatshop conditions, wages that are insufficient to support a family, lack of affordable health care, extreme income and asset inequality, and the like are not consistent with our social teaching.
James also reminds the rich of the limited value of all material wealth. “Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you.” Our social teaching is clear. We are in trouble if we get our value from our material possessions alone. As Christians in the developed world, we certainly are challenged to reflect on our very affluent society and the consumer values that dominate our culture.
The gospel addresses issues of solidarity, one of the central values of Catholic Social Teaching. The disciples are told to respect all those who do the work of Christ. We are all one in ways that transcend our various superficial differences and groupings. We are called to respect the presence of God in the gifts of all people. It is in this spirit that Pope Francis writes, “We require a new and universal solidarity” (Laudato Si’, 14).
Questions For Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
- Have you ever seen others do good things and think badly of them or resent them?
- Have you ever complained about others even though they are doing something good?
- The letter of James addresses the needs of workers for decent wages. In justice, what other basic benefits are workers entitled to? Does this say anything to us as our nation debates how to increase the wages of workers?
Jesus at a Football Match
Jesus Christ said he had never been to a football match. So we took him to one, my friends and I. It was a ferocious battle between the Protestant Punchers and the Catholic Crusaders.
The Crusaders scored first. Jesus cheered wildly and threw his hat high up in the air. Then the Punchers scored. And Jesus cheered wildly and threw his hat high up in the air.
This seemed to puzzle the man behind us. He tapped Jesus on the shoulder and asked, "Which side are you rooting for, my good man?"
"Me?" replied Jesus, visibly excited by the game. "Oh, I'm not rooting for either side. I'm just enjoying the game."
The questioner turned to his neighbor and sneered, "Hmm, an atheist!"
By Anthony de Mello (http://bit.ly/1FSlqBR)
With a global population of over 7 billion and growing, the need to preserve ecosystems is undeniable. Yet, for many products, the growth of consumption is reaching new levels:
- Global meat production has more than quadrupled in the last half century to over 308 million tons in 2013, bringing with it considerable environmental and health costs due to its large-scale draw on water, feedgrains, antibiotics, and grazing land.
- Coffee production has doubled since the early 1960s. However, an estimated 25 million coffee growers worldwide are at the mercy of extreme price volatility.
- For more than 50 years, global plastic production has continued to rise, with 299 million tons of plastics produced in 2013 alone. Recycling rates remain low, however, and the majority of plastics end up in landfills and oceans—polluting ecosystems, entangling wildlife, and blighting communities.
- The world’s fleet of automobiles now surpasses 1 billion, with each vehicle contributing greenhouse gases and reducing air quality.
- In developing countries, an estimated 168 million children ages 5 to 14 are forced to work.
- A study showed that doubling the salary of sweatshop workers would only increase the consumer cost of an item by 1.8%, while consumers would be willing to pay 15% more to know a product did not come from a sweatshop.
- Child labor is especially common in agriculture (98 million, or 59% of child laborers work in agriculture), followed by services (54 million) and industry (12 million). The majority of child laborers are found in Asia and the Pacific. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence, with one in five children in child labor.
- According to one survey, more than 2/3 of US workers experienced at least one pay-related violation in the previous work week. Assuming a full-time, full-year work schedule, workers lose an average of $2,634 annually due to violations.
- Because women make up 85 to 90% of sweatshop workers, some employers force them to take birth control and routine pregnancy tests to avoid supporting maternity leave or providing appropriate health benefits.
Actions - Links
- “ONE is a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, by raising public awareness and pressuring political leaders to support smart and effective policies and programs that are saving lives, helping to put kids in school and improving futures. Co-founded by Bono and other campaigners, ONE is nonpartisan and works closely with African activists and policy makers.” Read about the 17 goals to change the world and more here: http://bit.ly/1y4mNYG
Catholics Confront Global Poverty
- “The message of the Church is clear: we are called to help our brothers and sisters in need. Catholics Confront Global Poverty (CCGP) is an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) that calls on Catholics to defend the life and dignity of people living in poverty throughout the world, and to urge our nation to act in response to the many faces of poverty through advocacy and action.” Visit CCGP at: http://bit.ly/1kMzJSd
Climate Action Kit
- “Catholic Climate Covenant and Interfaith Power & Light have teamed up to bring you our Pope Francis' encyclical Climate Action Kit. You'll receive a step-by-step guide to understand and apply the encyclical, shrink your carbon footprint, and advocate for policy change.” Get the kit here: http://bit.ly/1KWbzTf
Prayers of Intersession
Response: Almighty God, may the whole world enjoy your justice and peace.
For all women and men in our world who continue to work for what is right and good in our world, may their efforts be supported, we pray…
For all people whose gifts and talents are still not welcomed and respected by our institutions, leaders, ourselves, and even our church, we pray…
For all those who offer employment to others, may they treat their workers with a living wage, just benefits and healthy respect, we pray…
For all our leaders, that they may guide us let go of personal and collective selfishness, jealousy and ambition, so that we can work together for a better world, we pray…
For an end to all the violence, war and terrorism, that continues to play out in our world, we pray…
For our nation that God will help us discern a way to work together for justice and peace for all, we pray…
For a new spirit of respect and care for all people and all of creation, we pray…
Prayer - Meditation
Prayer Of The Farm Workers’ Struggle
Show me the suffering of the most miserable;
so I will know my people’s plight.
Free me to pray for others;
For you are present in every person.
Help me take responsibility for my own life;
So that I can be free at last.
Grant me courage to serve others;
For in service there is true life.
Give me honesty and patience;
So that I can work with other workers.
Bring forth song and celebration;
So that the Spirit will be alive among us.
Let the Spirit flourish and grow;
So that we will never tire of the struggle.
Let us remember those who have died for justice;
For they have given us life.
Help us love even those who hate us;
So we can change the world.
Written by Cesar E. Chavez, UFW Founder (1927-1993)
A Prayer for Our Earth from Laudato Si’
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.
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