Engaging Faith | Thu, Feb 12, 2009
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 15, 2009
Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46
1 Corinthians 10:31--11:1
February 14: Valentine's Day
February 16: Presidents Day observed in U.S.
The solidarity which binds all people together as members of a common family makes it impossible for wealthy nations to look with indifference upon the hunger, misery and poverty of other nations whose citizens are unable to enjoy even elementary human rights. The nations of the world are becoming more and more dependent on one another and it will not be possible to preserve a lasting peace so long as glaring economic and social imbalances persist.
John XXIII, Mater et Magistra, #157
How can it be that even today there are still people dying of hunger? Condemned to illiteracy? Lacking the most basic medical care? Without a roof over their heads? . . . Christians must learn to make their act of faith in Christ by discerning His voice in the cry for help that rises from this world of poverty.
John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte, no. 50
... We must come to grips with the first of these challenges: solidarity among generations, solidarity between countries and entire continents, so that all human beings may share more equitably in the riches of our planet. This is one of the essential services that people of good will must render to humanity. The earth, in fact, can produce enough to nourish all its inhabitants, on the condition that the rich countries do not keep for themselves what belongs to all.
Benedict XVI, 16 June 2005
You are a Christian only so long as you constantly pose critical questions to the society you live in ... so long as you stay unsatisfied with the status quo and keep saying that a new world is yet to come.
Thoughts for your consideration
The first reading reminds us of the social effects of a disease like leprosy in biblical times and even today. In the gospel, the healing work of Jesus not only cures the person, but also allows him to reenter the community. Human solidarity is restored. Relationship with the community is healed.
Solidarity is one of the key values in Catholic Social Teaching. So many things in our contemporary world prevent solidarity. Today's readings invite us to reflect on many of the issues that divide our world and its people: racism, economic inequalities, unemployment, international debt, lack of access to medical treatment, militarism, terrorism, discrimination against women, political divisions, etc. etc.
We care called to be like Paul in the second reading who strives "for the benefit of the many" - who seeks the common good - who wants to heal the divisions.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
When have you observed or been part of a group of people being "left out" because of some form of discrimination? Have you experienced some healing of this division?
In the gospel Jesus heals the person who is ill. He makes some "clean." How would you describe the cleansing or absolving or healing that is needed in our social situation today?
Actions - Links
Resolutions to Action is an occasional publication of the Global Concerns Committee of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). The January, 2009 issue is on "Climate Change and Hunger." You can read it at http://www.lcwr.org/lcwrpublications/resolutionstoaction/RTA1-09.pdf
Oxfam America reports: "Since 1998, an estimated 5.4 million people have died due to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), while countless other have fled to neighboring countries for safety or remain in camps far from their homes. Women and girls have borne the brunt of this horrific crisis, with rape as a weapon of war on a scale seen nowhere else in the world." Oxfam America urges people to tell President Obama that the US needs a special envoy to help end the conflict in the DRC. To add your voice, go to:
Oxfam America reports: "Since 1998, an estimated 5.4 million people have died due to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations writes that "In 1960, the average hectare of arable land, globally, supported 2.4 persons. By 2005 this figure had increased to 4.5 persons per hectare and by 2050 the estimate is that a single hectare of land will need to support between 6.1 and 6.4 people. ... But the rate of growth in agricultural productivity is declining instead of rising. Whereas this has averaged 2.3 percent a year since 1961, it is expected to fall to 1.5 percent between now and 2030 and drop further to 0.9 percent between 2030 and 2050." http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/9962/icode/
Prayer of Intercession
Response: Lord, we turn to you in our troubles.
On this President's Day weekend, we pray for our nation.
For a nation where our political leaders will do what is right to guide our world through its financial crisis, we pray.....
For a nation where the benefits of civilized life are shared, and everyone can enjoy them, we pray....
For a nation where the weak are protected, and none go hungry or poor, we pray....
For a nation where our resources are directed toward human needs, we pray....
For a nation where the environment is respected and we use our resources responsibly for the common good, we pray....
For a nation where different races and cultures live in tolerance and mutual respect, we pray....
For a nation where we can bring an end to war and to all our preparations for war, we pray....
For a nation where peace is built with justice and justice is guided by love, we pray....
Prayer - Meditation
O Lord, open my eyes that I may see the needs of others; open my ears that I may hear their cries; open my heart so that they need not be without succor; let me not be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong, nor afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich ... And so open my eyes and my ears that I may this coming day be able to do some work of peace for thee.
- Alan Paton