COC

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Engaging Faith | Tue, Aug 11, 2009

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

 
Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]

August 16, 2009

Readings

Proverbs 9:1-6

Ephesians 5:15-20

John 6:51-58

Calendar

August 15: Feast of the Assumption of Mary

August 21: Islam: Start of Ramadan

August 23: International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

         [For info go to: http://www.hrea.org/feature-events/abolition-slavetrade-day.php]

Quotes

The development of peoples depends, above all, on a recognition that the human race is a single family working together in true communion, not simply a group of subjects who happen to live side by side. ... It is not by isolation that man establishes his worth, but by placing himself in relation with others and with God.

Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 53

For believers, the world derives neither from blind chance nor from strict necessity, but from God's plan. This is what gives rise to the duty of believers to unite their efforts with those of all men and women of good will, with the followers of other religions and with non-believers, so that this world of ours may effectively correspond to the divine plan: living as a family under the Creator's watchful eye.

Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 57

The Church's social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society. It offers moral principles and coherent values that are badly needed in our time. In this time of widespread violence and diminished respect for human life and dignity in our country and around the world, the Gospel of life and the biblical call to justice need to be proclaimed and shared with new clarity, urgency, and energy.

US Bishops, Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions

Catholic social teaching is built on a commitment to the poor. This commitment arises from our experiences of Christ in the Eucharist. ... We are called to reach out and to build relationships of love and justice.  ...  Our commitment to the Catholic social mission must be rooted in and strengthened by our spiritual lives. In our relationship with God we experience the conversion of heart that is necessary to truly love one another as God has loved us.

US Bishops, Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions

Thoughts for your consideration

Proverbs uses wisdom language to talk about God.  The US Bishops remind us that "the Church's social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society."  As we celebrate the wisdom that comes from God and the wisdom that is God, we will not want to forget the communal and social parts of this wisdom and strive to put that wisdom into action.

In today's gospel, some in the community miss what Jesus is getting at and end up quarreling about the literal meaning of the words. Thus they miss the major transforming message of Jesus.  Sometimes religious people can miss the most important things.  Jesus is about nourishing people with a new spirit and giving us all something new, transformative, and powerful.  The wisdom of Jesus is not an esoteric religious message, but one with a powerful social meaning to heal and transform our world with all of its problems and issues.  Jesus offers the wisdom and grace to do this.  Jesus calls us to get engaged in the serious issues of our day: health care reform, employment opportunities for all with a living wage, an end to war and violence, and so many more.

We must keep this in mind as we listen to Paul's words to the Ephesians: "Watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity."  Now is the time to connect our faith to the world.  Now is the time to live out the call to nonviolence, justice, and care for one another. Now is the time for the people of the world to work together for the common good.  Benedict XVI writes in Caritas in Veritate:

The development of peoples depends, above all, on a recognition that the human race is a single family working together in true communion, not simply a group of subjects who happen to live side by side. ... It is not by isolation that man establishes his worth, but by placing himself in relation with others and with God.

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

As your reflect on your religious faith and experience, what Christian wisdom do you feel speaks most powerfully to our world situation especially to the great recession that we are experiencing around the world?

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As your reflect on your religious faith and experience, what Christian wisdom do you feel speaks most powerfully to our world situation especially to the violence in the Middle East and other troubled parts of the world?

"Crazy Facts"

The National Coalition on Health Care reports that in 2007 total spending on health care in the United States was $2.4 trillion or $7900 per person. In 2008, total national health expenditures were expected to rise 6.9 percent -- two times the rate of inflation. Total health care spending represented 17 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). U.S. health care spending is expected to increase at similar levels for the next decade reaching $4.3 trillion in 2017, or 20 percent of GDP.

Actions - Links

"Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad."  http://www.bread.org/   Every year that work to get legislation passed to change "policies, programs and conditions that allow hunger and poverty to persist."  This year they are working to pass the Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009 (H.R. 2139) and a similar bill in the senate. Go to their web site to get more info, to find out how to urge Congress to act, and to participate in their "offering of letters."

Network, the National Catholic Social Justice Lobby writes that we "now have a not-to-be-missed opportunity to make giant steps toward shaping the U.S. healthcare system to serve the common good."

Prayers can be found at
www.networklobby.org/HEALTHCARE_Prayers.pdf

  • You can send a quick e-mail to congress at:

http://capwiz.com/networklobby/issues/alert/?alertid=13829611&type=CO

Prayers of Intercession

Response:  Sophia, Wisdom, listen to us in our need.

God, help us to overcome all injustice and violence with the creative loving spirit of Jesus Christ.

God, help us to bring an end to this era of terrorism and violence that so violates the spirit of Jesus Christ.

God, help us to work together to create a national health care policy that will respond to the needs of all people.

God, help us to work for the healthy economic development of all the nations and peoples of our world.

God, help us to value individuals and work to end torture and the trafficking in human beings.

God, help us to understand and respect all our brothers and sisters, especially our Muslim brothers and sisters as they prepare to celebrate Ramadan.

God, let us live "not as foolish persons, but as wise" empowered by the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Prayers & Meditations

Prayers related to our need for health care reform in the U.S. can be found at

www.networklobby.org/HEALTHCARE_Prayers.pdf

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To connect with Jesus as the "living bread," you might find these prayers useful.

A prayer for spiritual nourishment from Joyce Rupp can be found at:

http://joycerupp.com/freshbread.html

A Litany of Generosity from Joyce Rupp can be found at:

http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/books/excerpts.php?id=15815

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