Engaging Faith | Thu, Jun 20, 2013
Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time [c]
June 23, 2013
1 Kings 19:16b, 19-21
Galatians 5:1, 13-18
July 1: Canada Day
July 4: Independence Day in United States
July 6: International Day of Cooperatives
“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, May 24, 2013
“The economy in fact is only one aspect and one dimension of the whole of human activity. If economic life is absolutized, if the production and consumption of goods become the center of social life and society's only value, not subject to any other value, the reason is to be found not so much in the economic system itself as in the fact that the entire socio-cultural system, by ignoring the ethical and religious dimension, has been weakened, and ends by limiting itself to the production of goods and services alone.
All of this can be summed up by repeating once more that economic freedom is only one element of human freedom. When it becomes autonomous, when the human person is seen more as a producer or consumer of goods than as a subject who produces and consumes in order to live, then economic freedom loses its necessary relationship to the human person and ends up by alienating and oppressing.
- John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 39-40
“The Christian response to the challenges of our times is to be found in the Good News of Jesus. The words that signaled the start of His public ministry must be the watchword for every Christian response to injustice, ‘He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: The spirit of the Lord is upon me; therefore, he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners, to captives, recovery of favor from the Lord. Rolling up the scroll he gave it back ...and sat down...'Today this Scripture passage is fulfilling in your hearing.’
God's word proclaimed the oneness of the human family – from the first words of Genesis to the "Come, Lord Jesus" of the Book of Revelation. God's word in Genesis announces that all men and women are created in God's image; not just some races and racial types, but all bear the imprint of the Creator and are enlivened by the breath of His one Spirit.”
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Brothers and Sisters to Us
“The God who enters into our history, sets us free from slavery and death, and brings life to his people because he is the Living One.”
- Pope Francis, June 16, 2013
Thoughts for your consideration
The scriptures today address issues of liberty and freedom – the freedom to give up everything and follow Jesus on the Way – the freedom that allows us the ability to “serve one another through love” – the freedom to give oneself unconditionally and completely to something that is most important and bigger than ourselves.
Paul reminds the Galatians that the freedom of Christ must not end up being a new sort of slavery – a freedom to do anything regardless of how it effects others or a freedom from one thing only to be enslaved by something else. Christian faith is not just another ideology or set of ideas. It is a totally liberating commitment to God and to the common good.
In the American context, we might ask ourselves whether the political freedom that we are so proud of has set us free or allowed us in some way to be enslaved by something else. As our economic freedom has played out over time, have we become slaves to the economy, or to the forces of the “free market,” or the power of the consumer culture? Has our freedom of the press, resulted in a culture where we are manipulated and controlled by big corporate powers and their limited perspective? Has the freedom of the marketplace made us slaves to advertising or to the desire for profit? In brief have we in any way become enslaved by capitalism or consumerism or bigotry or racism or any other ideology?
The vision of Jesus is the vision of a group of liberated people focused on the journey and the goal. Jesus invites people to be free enough to focus their energy on a vision of life and love and service and solidarity. We are challenged today to be aware of those things that get in the way of this freedom and to walk in the values and life and joy of Jesus Christ.
If we take them seriously, the images of the first reading and the gospel are strong and powerful. As Paul reminds us: “Brothers and sisters: For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”
Questions for Reflection in your Faith-Sharing Group
What have you been asked to give up in your life?
How has this made you freer for the good news of Jesus?
How has this made you freer to be yourself?
How has this made you free enough to work for justice?
The Diamond from http://anthony-de-mello.blogspot.com/2007/11/diamond.html
The sannyasi had reached the outskirts of the village and settled down under a tree for the night when a villager came running up to him and said, "The stone! The stone! Give me the precious stone!"
"What stone?" asked the sannyasi.
"Last night the Lord Shiva appeared to me in a dream," said the villager, "And told me that if I went to the outskirts of the village at dusk I should find a sannyasi who would give me a precious stone that would make my rich forever."
The sannyasi rummaged in his bag and pulled out a stone. "He probably meant this one," he said, as he handed the stone over to the villager. "I found it on a forest path some days ago. You can certainly have it."
The man gazed at the stone in wonder. It was a diamond, probably the largest diamond in the whole world, for it was as large as a person's head.
He took the diamond and walked away. All night he tossed about in bed, unable to sleep. Next day at the crack of dawn he woke the sannyasi and said, "Give me the wealth that makes it possible for you to give this diamond away so easily."
Actions – Links
Map the Meal Gap, Food Insecurity in your County: Get data at: http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-studies/map-the-meal-...
Trafficking in Persons Report 2013 from the U.S. State Department: http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2013/index.htm .
The report includes the stories of numerous victims to raise awareness of the realities of human trafficking.
Pope Francis on the Pastoral Care of Immigrants and Migrant Workers:
“I reaffirm here that the ‘trade in people’ is a vile activity, a disgrace to our societies that claim to be civilized!”
“There are more African-Americans in the corrections system today – in prison or on probation or paroles – than there were enslaved in 1850. As of 2004, more black men were denied the right to vote because of a criminal record than in 1870, when the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified, giving blacks the right to vote. In the three decades since the war on drugs began, the U.S. prison population has exploded from 300,000 to more than 2 million people, giving our country the highest incarceration rate in the world—higher than Russia, China, and other regimes we consider repressive. A significant majority of black men in some urban areas are labeled felons for life; in and around Chicago, when you include prisoners that number approaches 80 percent.”
“Malnutrition is the underlying cause of death for at least 3.1 million children, accounting for 45 percent of all deaths among children under the age of five and stunting growth among a further 165 million.”
“This Report estimates that, based on the information governments have provided, only around 40,000 victims have been identified in the last year. In contrast, social scientists estimate that as many as 27 million men, women, and children are trafficking victims at any given time.”
Trafficking in Persons Report 2013 from the U.S. State Department
Prayers of Intercession
Response: “For freedom, Christ has set us free.”
For human rights and political freedom for all people, we pray….
For responsible freedom of the press in all the nations of the world, we pray….
For freedom from all slavery to money and possessions, we pray….
For freedom from consumerism and commercialism in our economic lives, we pray….
For freedom from war and violence and other forms of fear and manipulation, we pray….
For freedom from racism and all other forms of discrimination, we pray….
For religious freedom for all peoples, we pray….
Prayer for Charity and a Preferential Option for the Poor
By Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB
Please take the bread. It is yours.
The house with running water belongs to you.
A plot of land, a dignified job – all yours.
Forgive me for offering it.
Charity is not substitute for justice but your children are hungry now.
Spirit of Justice, break open our hearts.
Break them wide open
Let anger pour through
like strong winds cleaning us of complacency,
Let courage pour through
like spring storms flooding out fear.
Let zeal pour through
like blazing summer sun, filling us with passion.
Force of Justice, grant me anger at what is,
courage to do what must be done,
passion to break down the walls of injustice
and build a land flowing with milk and honey
for God’s beloved, God’s special love, God’s Poor Ones.
Spirit of Justice, break open our hearts.