Engaging Faith | Wed, Feb 18, 2009
Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 22, 2009
Isaiah 43:18-19, 21-22, 24b-25
2 Corinthians 1:18-22
February 25: Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent
Now is the time for a new "creativity" in charity, not only by ensuring that help is effective but also by "getting close" to those who suffer, so that the hand that helps is seen not as a humiliating handout but as a sharing between brothers and sisters.
John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte
We must revive in ourselves the burning conviction of Paul, who cried out: "Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel" (1 Cor 9:16). This passion will not fail to stir in the Church a new sense of mission, which cannot be left to a group of "specialists" but must involve the responsibility of all the members of the People of God.
John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte
To rediscover and make others rediscover the inviolable dignity of every human person makes up an essential task, in a certain sense, the central and unifying task of the service which the Church, and the lay faithful in her, are called to render to the human family.
John Paul II, Christifideles Laici
In a global culture driven by excessive individualism, our tradition proclaims that the person is not only sacred but also social. The Catholic tradition teaches that human beings grow and achieve fulfillment in community. ... While public debate in our nation is often divided between those who focus on personal responsibility and those who focus on social responsibilities, our tradition insists that both are necessary.
US Bishops, Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions
Thoughts for your consideration
We live in a world with great blessings and possibilities.
We live in a world in which many experience injustice and don't share in the blessings
We live in a world of great wealth and great poverty.
We live in a world that experiences war and peace, violence and love, all mixed together.
We live in a world that is capable of producing lots of material goods to benefit human life.
We live in a world that is destroying itself by over-production and the abuse of our resources.
The scriptures today remind us of several important aspects of the Christian message:
- Isaiah reminds us that God wants to do "something new" - something that will break with the past and lead us to peace. The long history of war and violence can be replaced by reconciliation and peace. The long history of economic injustice can be replaced by a world of justice for all. We do not have to feel trapped by the past.
- Paul reminds us that God wants us to be committed to a message that is clear and powerful. As the second reading reminds us, Jesus was not a wishy-washy "yes and no," but a clear "yes." Our faith moves us clearly and boldly to work toward peace and nonviolence, toward justice for all.
- Jesus reminds us that for God the forgiveness of sins is central - most important. Forgiveness and reconciliation are possible. This must be made real no only in our personal lives, but in relations between nations and ethnic groups. God calls us to "a new creativity" and an end to war and division.
- In our faith there is a power that comes when we are in solidarity, when we have the support of community and friends. The paralyzed man needed his friends to lower him down before Jesus. Their "new creativity" leads to healing. Our work for peace and justice needs a "new creativity" and needs the powerful support of friends and community.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
When have you experienced the powerful support of friends like those of the paralyzed man in today's gospel? What difference did it make to you and your ministry?
In your own life when have you felt afraid because of the past?
In your own life when has God inspired you with the courage to do something new?
Actions - Links
On Feb 11, 2009, the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act (S.416) was re-introduced in Congress by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. This bill would prohibit all use of cluster munitions in areas where civilians are normally present. To support this bill go to: http://capwiz.com/jesuit/issues/alert/?alertid=12672726
Corporate Accountability International (formerly Infact) "is a membership organization that protects people by waging and winning campaigns that challenge irresponsible and dangerous corporate actions around the world." Their web site is http://www.stopcorporateabuse.org/ .
The Jesuit Refugee Service writes: "Ninety-five countries - including our closest allies - recently completed and signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions, banning further production, use, export and stockpiling of these weapons. ... The Pentagon responded by announcing last summer that it will continue to use and, if permitted by Congress, export these weapons for another 10 years."
Prayers of Intercession
Response: God, inspire us do new things for justice and peace.
For an end to all the wars and a new culture of peace and reconciliation, we pray.....
For an end to the economic injustice in our world, we pray....
For those trapped in poverty, we pray.....
For those who are homeless, we pray.....
For children who don't have the opportunity for a quality education, we pray....
For those who have lost jobs or health benefits or retirement savings, we pray.....
For the wisdom to create a new economic system focused on human needs and justice for all, we pray....
Prayer - Meditation
An Orthodox Christian Prayer for Peace
Almighty God and Creator, you are the
Father of all people on the earth.
Guide, I pray all the nations and their leaders
in the ways of justice and peace.
Protect us from the evils of injustice,
prejudice, exploitation, conflict and war.
Help us to put away mistrust, bitterness and hatred.
Teach us to cease the storing and using of implements of war.
Lead us to find justice, peace and freedom.
Unite us in the making and creating of the tools of peace
against ignorance, poverty, disease and oppression.
Grant that we may grow in harmony and friendship as brothers and sisters
created in Your image, to Your honor and praise. Amen.