Engaging Faith | Mon, Aug 6, 2012
Lectionary reflections for the nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time - August 12, 2012.
Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]
August 12, 2012
1 Kings 19:4-8
August 14: Feast of St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe
August 15: Feast of the Assumption of Mary
The Church's social doctrine illuminates with an unchanging light the new problems that are constantly emerging.
-- Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 12
The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the people of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community composed of men and women. United in Christ, they are led by the Holy Spirit in their journey to the Kingdom of their Father and they have welcomed the news of salvation which is meant for every man. That is why this community realizes that it is truly linked with humankind and its history by the deepest of bonds.
-- Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes
May people learn to fight for justice without violence, renouncing class struggle in their internal disputes, and war in international ones.
-- John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 23
No, never again war, which destroys the lives of innocent people, teaches how to kill, throws into upheaval even the lives of those who do the killing and leaves behind a trail of resentment and hatred, thus making it all the more difficult to find a just solution of the very problems which provoked the war. Just as the time has finally come when in individual States a system of private vendetta and reprisal has given way to the rule of law, so too a similar step forward is now urgently needed in the international community.
-- John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 52
Testimony to Christ's charity, through works of justice, peace and development, is part and parcel of evangelization, because Jesus Christ, who loves us, is concerned with the whole person.
-- Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 15
All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling
must be removed from you, along with all malice.
And be kind to one another, compassionate,
forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.
-- Ephesians 4:31-32
Thoughts for your consideration
Have hope! The Christian vision has something to offer to our world in these challenging and difficult times.
In Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict XVI writes “…we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present.” In Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI writes “As the absolutely gratuitous gift of God, hope bursts into our lives as something not due to us, something that transcends every law of justice.”
Each of the scriptures today can be applied to our challenging efforts to live out the social teachings of our faith in our contemporary world, as we struggle for economic justice, world peace, and the common good.
Elijah has been following the commandments of God and speaking up for what is right and now he is in trouble. King Jezebel wants to kill him. Elijah seems to be overwhelmed, tired and discouraged. He wants to die. In some way, his situation is analogous to that of so many women and men who struggle to work for justice and peace in the world and encounter “failure” or opposition. In some way, his situation is analogous to that of so many people who are overwhelmed by underemployment or unemployment or the loss of their savings in our “great recession.” In the midst of complex social problems that are hard to “fix,” we can feel overwhelmed and get discouraged. We may be criticized. In speaking up for what is right, we can encounter opposition, threats and even death. War, poverty, and injustice, seem at times to be so persistent and “unfixable.” Even the leaderships of the church can frustrate us.
In the letter to the Ephesians, we are reminded that “All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice.” (As always we are invited to apply this wisdom not only to our personal life but also to relationships between groups of people and nations and to our church community.)
Both the first reading and the gospel, talk about divine “bread” and nourishment for the journey. Elijah gets a hearth cake and a jug of water is able to complete the journey to the mountain of God. Jesus promises to be the “living bread” which is “for the life of the world.” God wants to strengthen us for the journey.
In order to be faithful and to put our faith into practice, we need to be supported by our God. We need the support and challenge of a community of believers. In the Christian tradition this is made real in the celebration of the Eucharist – where we receive the “bread of life.” When the church is at her best, her social ministry flows out from the Eucharist, for as Jesus says “… the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” We are not alone as we strive to put our faith into action in the pursuit of justice.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
What social problems get you discouraged?
When do you want to walk away like Elijah?
What issues and situations seem to be overwhelming to you?
Are you ever discouraged by our political system and our political leaders?
Do you think that the United States will ever be able to change our health care system?
Reflect on this story of St. Francis of Assisi on perfect joy.
There are various versions.
See especially the third chapter of Leonardo Boff’s St. Francis, A Model for Human Liberation.
"The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that if women had access to the same productive resources as men—better seeds, fertilizers and fungicides—they could increase their yield by 20% to 30%. As women make up 43% of the world’s farmers, this would increase total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5% to 4%, and reduce hunger globally by 12% to 17%, according to the FAO."
Actions – Links
Call on President Obama to break the cycle of hunger and support plans for long-term investment in farming in the developing world:
“International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local officials to secure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators and to ensure that public justice systems - police, courts and laws - effectively protect the poor.” http://www.ijm.org/
Learn about their summer 2012 campaign for slave free tomatoes at
Check out their fact sheet at:
Prayers of Intercession
Response: Bread of Life, strength us for the journey
God of the hungry, teach us how to share our bread with the hungry of the world.
God of peace, teach us how to work for peace in our divided, often violent, world.
God of the poor and rich, teach us to share with one another out of our riches and our poverty.
God of justice, teach us to create policies, institutions and governments that are just for all.
God of inclusion, teach us to welcome and include all our sisters and brothers.
God of unity, teach us to work and live together as a church united and supportive of one another.
God of joy, teach us to have faith and serenity in the midst of questions and confusion.
God of hope, teach us to overcome all discouragement with your gift of hope.
Prayer - Meditation
From the Urbi et Orbi Message of Pope John Paul II, Easter Sunday, 23 April 2000
The Risen Christ signals the paths of hope
along which we can advance together
towards a world more just and mutually supportive,
in which the blind egoism of the few
will not prevail over the cries of pain of the many,
reducing entire peoples
to conditions of degrading misery.
May the message of life proclaimed by the angel
near the stone rolled back from the tomb
overturn the hardness of our hearts;
may it lead to removing unjustified barriers
and promote a fruitful exchange between peoples and cultures.
May the image of the new person,
shining on the face of Christ,
cause everyone to acknowledge
the inalienable value of human life;
may it encourage effective responses
to the increasingly felt demand
for justice and equal opportunity
in all areas of society;
may it impel individuals and States
to full respect for the essential and authentic rights
rooted in the very nature of the human person.