Engaging Faith | Fri, Nov 7, 2008
Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
November 9, 2008
[For a brief explanation of why this feast is celebrated on a Sunday and how it is connected to the issue of religious freedom, go to: http://www.rpinet.com/ml/2409bi2.html.]
Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12
1 Corinthians 3:9c-11, 16-17
November 11: Veterans' Day in the US
November 15: America Recycles day [http://americarecyclesday.org/]
Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel, or, in other words, of the Church's mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation.
1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
--Article 18, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Wherefore, whatever the progress in technology and economic life, there can be neither justice nor peace in the world, so long as men fail to realize how great is their dignity; for they have been created by God and are His children.
Blessed John XXIII, Mater et Magistra, 215
Our faith demands of us a certain sparingness in use, and the Church is obliged to live and administer its own goods in such a way that the Gospel is proclaimed to the poor. If instead the Church appears to be among the rich and the powerful of this world its credibility is diminished.
1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World
Thoughts for your consideration
Historically, the feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome can be seen as a celebration of religious freedom. [See http://www.rpinet.com/ml/2409bi2.html.] It goes back to the days in the fourth century when the long era of persecution came to an end and Christians were given religious freedom. In our pluralistic age, it reminds us to respect and learn from the many religious faiths practiced in our world.
The social teaching of the Church has sometimes been referred to as "its best kept secret." This social teaching is a powerful and important part of our tradition. It is a body of wisdom. The first reading from Ezekiel uses the image of water flowing from the temple to remind us of the wonderful life-giving wisdom and teaching that flows out from the church and our tradition when it is at its best.
Our social teaching places great emphasis on the great value of every human person. The reading from Corinthians reminds us that we are "God's building" and the "temple of God." The church is more than a physical building or an institution. It is community of people living out the gospel.
Our Social Teaching challenges us to keep our values in order. In the gospel today, Jesus drives the money-changers out of the temple. As a church community and as individuals we need to be vigilant so that materialism and consumerism does not corrupt our religious practice and distract us from the teaching of Jesus Christ.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
Where do you feel that the Church is in need of renewal or reform in its efforts to promote justice in the world?
Actions - Links
"Of the 37.3 million persons in our nation presently living in poverty, 13.3 million of them are children. This is every sixth child. A baby is born into poverty every 33 seconds in America. Our child poverty rate is higher than any other industrialized nation." Read A Call to End Child Poverty, by Karen Lashman, Vice-President of Policy for the Children's Defense Fund, at
November 16 is the International Day for Tolerance. For some info about teaching tolerance, go to Teaching Tolerance, a Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center at http://www.tolerance.org/teach/
The Education Trust reports: "Among industrialized nations, the United States is the only country in which today's young people are less likely than their parents to have earned a high school diploma. Reversing this trend could hardly be more urgent." http://www2.edtrust.org/EdTrust/Press+Room/countingongrad.ht
Prayers of Intercession
Response: God, help us build a house of faith welcoming all people.
For our church, we pray....
For our leadership, clergy and lay, we pray....
For those who do not enjoy religious freedom, we pray....
For the poor, especially children in poverty, we pray....
For refugees and immigrants, we pray....
For women who don't' enjoy a full share of human and economic rights, we pray.....
For those caught up in situations of war or violence, we pray....
For the veterans of our many wars, we pray....
For all those who feel left out and discriminated against in any way, we pray....
Prayer - Meditation
God, religion is boring.
People say things that are "absolutely true and totally useless."
God, religion sometimes seems to be a waste of time.
People sing songs, say words, and seem to do nothing.
God, bless me with a faith that is fun.
God, bless me with a spirit that is exciting.
God, bless me with a religion that has a vision
- a vision of life and excitement
- a vision of love for others
- a vision of mercy and care for others
- a vision of justice and peace for the whole world.
God, bless me with the exciting spirit of Jesus Christ.