Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Engaging Faith | Fri, Sep 19, 2008

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time [a]

 September 28, 2008


Ezekiel 18:25-28

Philippians 2:1-11 or 2:1-5

Matthew 21:28-32


September 27: Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul, Patron of Charitable Societies

September 29: Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) starts at sunset.

October 1: Id al Fitr (End of Ramadan)

October 1: International Day of Older Persons

October 4: Feast of St. Francis of Assisi


Every citizen also has the responsibility to work to secure justice and human rights through an organized social response. In the words of Pius XI, "Charity will never be true charity unless it takes justice into account ... Let no one attempt with small gifts of charity to exempt himself from the great duties imposed by justice." The guaranteeing of basic justice for all is not an optional expression of largesse but an inescapable duty for the whole of society. 

Economic Justice for All(#120)

The Old Testament prophets emphasize that worship and prayer are not pleasing to God unless they are accompanied by practical works of justice and charity. Following the Great Jubilee, we must acknowledge the call to commit ourselves ever more generously to working for justice and the liberation of the oppressed.

John Paul II, General Audience, Jan. 10, 2001

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, defend the rights of those who have nothing. Speak up and judge fairly, and defend the rights of the poor and needy."

Proverbs 31:8-9

No one may claim the name of Christian and be comfortable in the face of hunger, homelessness, insecurity, and injustice found in this country and the world.

Economic Justice for All (#27)

Thoughts for your consideration

(1) Like the second son in the gospel story, it is sometimes easy to pay lip service to the values of Catholic Social Teaching. The more challenging thing is to put those values into practice in our complex world with all its problems and history. [It is easy to put out public relations statements of concern. It is more of a challenge to do something.] 

(2.) Catholic Social Teaching assumes that religion has something to do with life and the way we behave. Good religion is not an escape from the world and its problems. This is the message of the gospel today and the message of the first reading.  Religion that is put into practice is religion that leads to life rather than death. Our behavior makes a difference. Catholic Christians are concerned with more than doctrine or ritual or piety.  They are concerned with ethical values, the common good, social structures, social sin, injustice, war and peace, institutions that promote peace and justice, and all these sorts of things.

(3.) Catholic Social Teaching invites us to act in the same spirit that animated Jesus. [At the same time, ethics is more than a simple WWJD. The ethical world is more complicated than a simple slogan. However, that does not mean than Jesus has nothing to say to us and our behavior.] Today Paul writes:  "Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others."  In short Jesus acted in solidarity with others. We are invited to do the same.  We are invited to do so, even when it involves risk, as it did for Jesus. Jesus was free enough to let go of life.  The spirit of Jesus is one of liberation.

(4.) Change is possible.  The second son changed is no to a yes.   In a world of social sin, economic injustice, corrupted values, and all kinds of war and violence, it is possible for us to move in another direction. 

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

In the language of the second reading, when have you (or someone you knew) acted with the same attitude as Christ? 


How have you been affected by the current financial crisis? 

What are your worries and fears?

How has it changed your way of looking at things in America? 

Has it inspired you to do something different?

Actions - Links

Problems with the economy and our financial system have been dominating our news in recent weeks as banks and investment groups have had trouble.Jim Wallis of Sojourners recently published Greed in the Economy: It's the Morality, Sinner. You can read it at 

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) was founded by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).  At their action page they are encouraging people to "Urge Congress to Provide Help In a Bad Economy" especially to people in need.  You can join their efforts at:

"Crazy Facts"

Charles E. Hurst in Social Inequality: Forms, Causes, and Consequences, writes that in the United States, the top 10% possess 80% of all financial assets and the bottom 90% hold only 20% of all financial wealth.

The minimum wage in the United States is currently $6.55 per hour.  The Economic Policy Institute calculates that the inflation-adjusted value of the minimum wage is 19% lower than it was in 1979.

Prayers of Intercession

Response: God, help us to live the good news of Jesus.

We pray for those who unemployed or underemployed.

We pray for those without health insurance.

We pray for those cannot pay their basic living expenses.

We pray for those who are homeless or at risk for losing their homes.

We pray for those struggling or homeless after the recent hurricanes.

We pray for those who are afraid of economic problems.

We pray for those who are well off.

We pray for those who are unaware of the needs of others.

We pray that we may all focus on the common good.

Prayer - Meditation

A Prayer for Compassion

From Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ

Oh God, I wish from now on

To be the first to become conscious

Of all that the world loves, pursues, and suffers;

I want to be the first to seek,

To sympathize and to suffer;

The first of unfold and sacrifice myself,

To become more widely human

And more nobly of the earth

Than any of the world's servants.

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