Engaging Faith | Mon, Jan 26, 2009
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time [b]
February 1, 2009
1 Corinthians 7:32-35
February: African American History Month
February 1: National Day of Prayer for the African American Family http://www.usccb.org/saac/nationaldayofprayer.shtml
February 1: Super Bowl Sunday
February 2: Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas)
February 7: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day http://www.blackaidsday.org/
Human hearts are yearning for a world where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity is found in respectful communion. Our faith can respond to these expectations: may you become its heralds!
Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Communications Day 2009
The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well. Nothing that is genuinely human fails to find an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community of people united in Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit in their pilgrimage towards the Father's kingdom, bearers of a message of salvation for all of humanity. That is why they cherish a feeling of deep solidarity with the human race and its history.
The Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes
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.
Bishops' Synod, Justice in the World
Thoughts for your consideration
Jesus is described as one who teaches and speaks "with authority."
Jesus is one who can even command evil spirits to depart.
Jesus comes with a clear vision and the courage to speak clearly and boldly.
Such characteristics are essential for any contemporary prophet who will speak to the world a message of justice and peace. Such characteristics are essential if we are to apply effectively the social teaching of the church to our contemporary world.
The clarity of our vision and how it applies to the world develops out of a real understanding of the situation of the world and its people. Our church must be connected with the lives of real people, especially those who are struggling or in need or economically poor. Otherwise, we cannot be prophetic and speak with authority.
The power of our preaching must come out of a deep faith in a God who calls us to work for justice, to ask questions and to speak up. Without the faith that calls us to ask questions, we cannot be prophetic and speak with authority.
In a certain sense, the power of our preaching and actions can perform an "exorcism" on the world, driving out the evil spirits of injustice, poverty, violence, and selfishness and inviting in the good spirits of justice, peace, community and economic well-being for all.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
When have you experienced someone who "taught with authority?"
How did this impact you?
Did this person have a "social - ethical message" that made a difference?
Actions - Links
Catholic Relief Services produces http://crscollege.org/ which "connects key global issues such as hunger, migration, HIV & AIDS and international poverty to the university classroom and campus." Catholic Relief Services also produces an action center for people to take online action on issues of justice. Find it at: http://actioncenter.crs.org/
The Global Fund for Women reports: "Women perform two-thirds of all labor and produce more than half of the world's food. Yet, women own only about one percent of the world's assets, and represent 70 percent of those living in absolute poverty."
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) around the world more than one billion people in low and middle-income countries lack access to safe water for drinking, personal hygiene and domestic use.
Prayers of Intercession
Response: God, bless all those who struggle for justice.
For all those suffering in any way, we pray....
For all those who suffer from poverty, we pray....
For those who have lost jobs or homes, we pray....
For all those denied their basic human rights and dignity, we pray.....
For all those struggling and taking risks to create a world of justice and peace, we pray....
For all those working to create a profound respect for life in all it forms, we pray....
For those promoting the care for the earth as a gift from God to be shared by all, we pray....
For all those speaking out and acting with a passion for nonviolence and peace, we pray....
For all those facing opposition and persecution as they try to live out the values of Christ, we pray.....
Prayer - Meditation
Mother -- Father God: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.
Let us hear again the challenge of the great prophets.
Let us do what is right and love with enthusiasm.
Sophia - Wisdom: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.
Help us to discern the way of peace.
Help us to discern the way of right action.
God of heaven and earth: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.
Let us hear again the stories of our ancestors in faith.
Let us create new stories today - stories of faith in action.
God of peace and justice: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.
Help us to listen to the world and the cries of those in need.
Help us to respond in solidarity with all those in need.
Holy Spirit: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.
Fill us with an enthusiasm and joy for what is right and good.
Fill us with virtue that we might do what is good for all.