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Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]

Engaging Faith | Thu, Aug 16, 2012

By John Bucki, S.J.
Source: Center of Concern

Lectionary reflections for the twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time - 19 August 2012.

Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]

August 19, 2012

Readings

Proverbs 9:1-6
Ephesians 5:15-20
John 6:51-58


Calendar

August 18: Islam: End of Ramadan  (Eid-ul-Fitr)
August 23: International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
         [For info go to: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/culture/themes/dialogue/the-slave-route/rig... ]
August 26: Women's Equality Day  The anniversary of women getting the right to vote in the USA - the signing of the 19th Amendment,1920.


Quotes

The development of peoples depends, above all, on a recognition that the human race is a single family working together in true communion, not simply a group of subjects who happen to live side by side. … It is not by isolation that man establishes his worth, but by placing himself in relation with others and with God.
-- Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 53

For believers, the world derives neither from blind chance nor from strict necessity, but from God's plan. This is what gives rise to the duty of believers to unite their efforts with those of all men and women of good will, with the followers of other religions and with non-believers, so that this world of ours may effectively correspond to the divine plan: living as a family under the Creator's watchful eye.
-- Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 57

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.
-- US Bishops, Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions

Catholic social teaching is built on a commitment to the poor. This commitment arises from our experiences of Christ in the Eucharist. … We are called to reach out and to build relationships of love and justice.  …  Our commitment to the Catholic social mission must be rooted in and strengthened by our spiritual lives. In our relationship with God we experience the conversion of heart that is necessary to truly love one another as God has loved us.
-- US Bishops, Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions

Thoughts for your consideration

Proverbs uses wisdom language to talk about God.  The US Bishops remind us that “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.”  As we celebrate the wisdom that comes from God and the wisdom that is God, we will not want to forget the communal and social parts of this wisdom and strive to put that wisdom into action.

In today’s gospel, some in the community miss what Jesus is getting at and end up quarreling about the literal meaning of the words. Thus they miss the major transforming message of Jesus.  Sometimes religious people can miss the most important things.  Jesus is about nourishing people with a new spirit and giving us all something new, transformative, and powerful.  The wisdom of Jesus is not an esoteric religious message, but one with a powerful social meaning to heal and transform our world with all of its problems and issues.  Jesus offers the wisdom and grace to do this.

We must keep this in mind as we listen to Paul’s words to the Ephesians: “Watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity.”  Now is the time to connect our faith to the world.  Now is the time to live out the call to nonviolence, justice, and care for one another. Now is the time for the people of the world to work together for the common good.  Benedict XVI writes in Caritas in Veritate:
The development of peoples depends, above all, on a recognition that the human race is a single family working together in true communion, not simply a group of subjects who happen to live side by side. … It is not by isolation that man establishes his worth, but by placing himself in relation with others and with God.
 

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

As you reflect on your religious faith and experience, what Christian wisdom do you feel speaks most powerfully to our world situation?

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As your reflect on your religious faith and experience, what Christian wisdom do you feel speaks most powerfully to our world situation especially to the violence in the Middle East and other troubled parts of the world?

Story

THE TRUTH SHOP

I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the name of the shop: THE TRUTH SHOP.
The salesgirl was very polite: What type of truth did I wish to purchase, partial or
whole? The whole truth, of course. No deceptions for me, no defenses, no rationalizations.
I wanted my truth plain and unadulterated. She waved me on to another side of the store.

The salesman there pointed to the price tag. “The price is very high, sir,” he said.

“What is it?” I asked, determined to get the whole truth, no matter what it cost. “Your
security, sir,” he answered.

I came away with a heavy heart. I still need the safety of my unquestioned beliefs.

From Anthony DeMello’s The Song of the Bird

 

Actions - Links

A FAITHFUL BUDGET FOCUSED ON NEED, RATHER THAN SCARCITY!
http://www.networklobby.org/blog/2012-3-22/blog-faithful-budget

“Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment.” http://earthjustice.org/  Take action on various environmental issues at http://earthjustice.org/action


“Crazy Facts”

“Job growth continues to be stymied by federal budget cuts.  Again, this month, there were 12,000 job losses in the public sector (the way to “save” in cutting budgets is to eliminate workers). These were lost by men - although they gained 89,000 jobs in the private sector (in manufacturing and leisure/hospitality). Women did gain 3,000 public sector jobs in July, despite having lost 403,000 net public sector jobs since June of 2009.”
http://www.networklobby.org/blog/2012-8-3/blog-look-new-unemployment-num...


Prayers of Intercession

Response:  Sophia, Wisdom, listen to us in our need.

God, help us to overcome all injustice and violence with the creative loving spirit of Jesus Christ.

God, help us to bring an end to this era of terrorism and violence that so violates the spirit of Jesus Christ.

God, help us to understand and respect all our brothers and sisters.

God, help us to value individuals and work to end torture and the trafficking in human beings.

God, help us to learn to listen to one another and enter into healthy political dialogue.

God, help us create a society that offers justice for all people, especially the poor.

God, let us live “not as foolish persons, but as wise” empowered by the Spirit of Jesus Christ.


Prayers & Meditations
 
O persistent God,
let how much it all matters
pry be off dead center
so if I am moved inside
     to tears
          or sighs
                or screams
                      or smiles
                            or dreams,
they will be real
and I will be touch with who I am
and who you are
and who my sisters and brothers are.

from Ted Loder, Guerrillas of Grace


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If you want to connect with Jesus as the “living bread,” you might find these prayers useful.

A prayer for spiritual nourishment from Joyce Rupp can be found at:
http://joycerupp.com/freshbread.html

A Litany of Generosity from Joyce Rupp can be found at:
http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/books/excerpts.php?id=15815

 

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