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Twenty-eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Engaging Faith | Tue, Oct 9, 2012

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

Lectionary reflections for the twenty-eighth Sunday of ordinary time - 14 October 2012.

Twenty-eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]

October 14, 2012

Readings

Wisdom 7:7-11
Hebrews 4:12-13
Mark 10:17-30 or 10:17-27


Calendar

October 11: Beginning of the “Year of Faith”
October 11: 50th anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council
October 15: International Day of Rural Women: http://www.un.org/en/events/ruralwomenday/
October 16: World Food Day: http://www.fao.org/world-food-day/home/en/
October 17: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty http://www.un.org/en/events/povertyday/
October 21: World Mission Sunday


Quotes

Do not let a desire for wealth cause you to become so consumed by your work that you prevent happiness for yourself and your family. 
-- Thich Nhat Hanh

Our examination of conscience now comes to the life style of all: bishops, priests, religious and lay people. In the case of needy peoples it must be asked whether belonging to the Church places people on a rich island within an ambient of poverty. In societies enjoying a higher level of consumer spending, it must be asked whether our life style exemplifies that sparingness with regard to consumption which we preach to others as necessary in order that so many millions of hungry people throughout the world may be fed.
-- 1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World, 48

It is not wrong to want to live better; what is wrong is a style of life which is presumed to be better when it is directed towards "having" rather than "being", and which wants to have more, not in order to be more but in order to spend life in enjoyment as an end in itself. It is therefore necessary to create life-styles in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of common growth are the factors which determine consumer choices, savings and investments.
-- John Paul II, Centesius Annus, 36

The rush and pressure of modern life are a form of its innate violence. To allow myself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns. To surrender to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything...is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of the activist...destroys the fruitfulness of one's own work because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.
-- Thomas Merton

To manage the global economy; to revive economies hit by the crisis; to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result; to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration: for all this, there is urgent need of a true world political authority, as my predecessor Blessed John XXIII indicated some years ago.
-- Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 67

Thoughts for your consideration

The first reading from the book of Wisdom reminds us that the purpose of our life is not the accumulation of wealth.  There are values that are more important than money, riches, and power.  We are invited instead to base our life on that wisdom that is God and on that Spirit that invites us to something more.  We are called not to accumulate things for ourselves, but to live in community and respect the common good.  We are invited to consider how the prevalence of consumerism and materialism in our culture gets in the way of the Christian life and even basic happiness.  Our social teaching even invites us to make a special option for the poor, to respect the environment, and to focus on the common good of all.

The story of the “rich young man” reminds us of how difficult it can be to “sell what we have and give to the poor.”  “He had “many possessions.”  Even if we are not excessively affluent by the stands of our nation, by the standards of the world most of us are considered very affluent. We consume a disproportionate share of the earth’s resources. Like the rich young man, our nation as a whole certainly has “many possessions” and seems to find it difficult to “sell them and give to the poor.”  Accumulation of wealth and economic domination of other nations and groups seems to be a powerful temptation to our nation and our way of behaving.  The scriptures are certainly giving us a lot to think about as individuals and as a world community.

Economically, many people are struggling today because of the “great recession;” however, the effects of the recession on individuals have been very uneven.  Many people are still employed; however, many others are still unemployed or underemployed.  Others were struggling economically before the recession and their struggle has only gotten worse.  The scriptures today may be an invitation to reflect on our current economic situation.  Have we gotten into these problems because we have failed to apply the scriptures to our world?  Are we being called to reevaluate how we live and what we consider most important?    

Economically, the struggle unfolds differently in different parts of the world.  Greece is burdened by unmanageable deft.   Spain has 25% unemployment. The whole euro zone is dealing with uncertainty.  The citizens of very poorest of nations in the developing world suffer from hunger and the lack of basic necessities. Parts of China and India are enjoying a new found prosperity.  Others in these same nations continue to struggle with great poverty.

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An interesting and challenging essay on the social role of the rich can be found in the Sunday Review in the New York Times of May 12, 2012.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/opinion/sunday/fables-of-wealth.html


Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

What has been your experience of the economic recession of the last four years?
How do the scriptures speak to you?

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What possessions do you find hardest to give away? 
What possessions or worries about possessions get in the way of your happiness?

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What do today’s scriptures teach us in preparation for the upcoming election?
Are we even asking the right questions about our economy and those running for office?

Story

The Miser and His Gold, a fable of Aesop
http://aesopfables.com/cgi/aesop1.cgi?3&TheMiserandHisGold
 
Once upon a time there was a Miser who used to hide his gold at the foot of a tree in his garden; but every week he used to go and dig it up and gloat over his gains.  A robber, who had noticed this, went and dug up the gold and decamped with it.  When the Miser next came to gloat over his treasures, he found nothing but the empty hole.  He tore his hair, and raised such an outcry that all the neighbors came around him, and he told them how he used to come and visit his gold.  "Did you ever take any of it out?" asked one of them. 

 "Nay," said he, "I only came to look at it."  

"Then come again and look at the hole," said a neighbor; "it will do you just as much good."

Actions - Links

October 16 is World Food Day
Look for various resources at: http://www.worldfooddayusa.org
and at http://www.un.org/en/events/ruralwomenday/

The Role of the Rich
An interesting and challenging essay on the social role of the rich can be found in the Sunday Review in the New York Times of May 12, 2012.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/opinion/sunday/fables-of-wealth.html

Pentagon Spending
Ask candidates for the Congress about runaway Pentagon spending.
http://capwiz.com/fconl/issues/alert/?alertid=61008306

Poverty in the United States
http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/poverty-america


“Crazy Facts”

“Nearly half of all American children receive food stamp benefits at some point before they reach the age of 20. Among African-Americans the figure is much higher: 90 percent! One in seven Americans is currently enrolled in the food stamp program. This number has nearly doubled, to 18 million, from pre-2009 recession figures.”   http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/poverty-america

The average person in America’s top 1 percent has 288 times as much wealth as the typical median household. This constitutes a huge increase from 1962, when the ratio was 125 to 1. http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/09/17/856711/ten-inequality-charts...


Prayers of Intercession

Response: God, help us to work and to live for the common good of all.
For those who are living the experience of poverty, especially the billions who live on less than two dollars a day, we pray….
For all those who suffer from a lack of food or proper medical care, we pray…
For those who enjoy an abundance of money and possessions, we pray…
For those who are unemployed or underemployed or underpaid, we pray….
For those who overwork, we pray…..
For our nation, that as a community we direct our abundant resources to the common good, we pray…
For the nations of the world, that all will learn to direct their resources away from the weapons of war and toward the good of all their people, we pray…
For a spirit of openness to the needs and concerns of all, we pray…


Prayer - Meditation
 
The following prayer came from the website of the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development http://www.cafod.org.uk
 
A New Beginning

Loving God,
We gaze in wonder
At the splendor of your creation
We see a banquet spread before us
Rich carpeted fields of yellowing grain
And overflowing baskets of ripe fruit
We see a banquet prepared for all peoples
Of fine wines and rich food
A generous feast for all to share
Help us to learn from your generosity
How to share our bread with the hungry
And open our hearts to the poor
To commit ourselves to preparing
A banquet for all peoples
A generous feast for all to share.

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A Prayer For Those in Poverty by: Education for Justice

God of justice and compassion,

We ask forgiveness for the widening gulf between rich and poor,
For the use of money as a measure of all things,
For the culture of self-gratification,
For the continuing disparities between those that have so much and those who have so little.
And for the suffering of those people who are excluded from the table of abundance.

Forgive us for our focus on material goods,
And our part in the worship of economic growth
In a world where resources are limited
and where we are already using more than our fair share.

Forgive us for going along with what is easy,
For failing to come to grips with the problems of change
And to engage in the complexity of social issues.

Fill us with a living faith that we may become lively seeds of your kingdom,
Continually growing in your way of love,
Instruments of personal and social reconciliation,
Vehicles for a new dawn when those in poverty
Are welcomed to the table where compassion and justice meet.

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our Prayer.

Based on a prayer by Alan Litherland

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