Twenty-fourth Sinday of Ordinary Time [b]

Engaging Faith | Fri, Sep 4, 2009

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Twenty-fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]

September 13, 2009


Isaiah 50:5-9a

James 2:14-18

Mark 8:27-35


September 11: Eighth Anniversary of the Events of September 11, 2001

September 18: (starting at sunset) Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year

September 21: International Day of Peace
September 21: Id al Fitr (End of Ramadan), the holy month of prayer and fasting for Muslims


Listening to the cry of those who suffer violence and are oppressed by unjust systems and structures, and hearing the appeal of a world that by its perversity contradicts the plan of its Creator, we have shared our awareness of the Church's vocation to be present in the heart of the world by proclaiming the Good News to the poor, freedom to the oppressed, and joy to the afflicted.

1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World

The power of the Spirit, who raised Christ from the dead, is continuously at work in the world. Through the generous sons and daughters of the Church likewise, the People of God is present in the midst of the poor and of those who suffer oppression and persecution; it lives in its own flesh and its own heart the Passion of Christ and bears witness to his resurrection.

1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World

At the same time as it proclaims the Gospel of the Lord, its Redeemer and Savior, the Church calls on all, especially the poor, the oppressed and the afflicted, to cooperate with God to bring about liberation from every sin and to build a world which will reach the fullness of creation only when it becomes the work of people for people.

1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World

The elimination of world hunger has, in the global era, become a requirement for safeguarding the peace and stability of the planet. Hunger is not so much dependent on lack of material things as on shortage of social resources, the most important of which are institutional. What is missing, in other words, is a network of economic institutions capable of guaranteeing regular access to sufficient food and water for nutritional needs, and also capable of addressing the primary needs and necessities ensuing from genuine food crises, whether due to natural causes or political irresponsibility, nationally and internationally. The problem of food insecurity needs to be addressed within a long-term perspective, eliminating the structural causes that give rise to it and promoting the agricultural development of poorer countries.

Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 27

Thoughts for your consideration

The letter of James clearly and emphatically reminds us that our faith must be put into practice.

"Faith without works is dead." People of faith cannot ignore the needs of those without food or clothing or shelter. People of faith have a special concern for those who are poor or struggling. Otherwise our faith is a sham. People of faith cannot ignore the inequalities that are built into our economic and social structures.

The servant song from Isaiah challenges us to be determined and committed in the midst of difficulty and to be dedicated to what we believe even in the midst of opposition. We live in a culture where we often encounter values different than our Christian values. The needs and perspective of the poor are often ignored. The "faith in practice" described by James in the second reading is not always the value of our dominant culture. Jesus seems to be making a similar point when he tells Peter "You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." The vision of Jesus, the vision of God, is not always identical to that of our dominant culture. People of faith cannot ignore the needs of those without food or clothing or shelter or healthcare. People of faith have a special concern for those who are poor or struggling. Otherwise our faith is a sham.

Sometimes, as with Jesus, we will encounter opposition, struggle and suffering as we try to live out this faith. Jesus is the one who is in solidarity with all those who are living the experience of poverty and powerlessness and with all those who are struggling for justice. Elizabeth Johnson in her book, She Who Is, writes: "Christ crucified and risen, the Wisdom of God, manifests the truth that divine justice and renewing power leavens the world in a way different from the techniques of dominating violence. The victory of shalom is won not by the sword of the warrior god, but by the awesome power of compassionate love, in and through solidarity with those who suffer."

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

James writes: "Faith without works is dead." Are you alive or dead?


Where in our world do you see or experience economic and social inequality?
How are you called to work for healing?

Actions - Links

We are in a season of major Jewish and Islamic religious observances. Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) begins on September 18. Ramadan continues until September 21. Resources on Islamic-Catholic Relations can be found at Resources on Catholic relations with the Jewish community can be found at .

The International Day of Peace: Peace Day - September 21 is an effort to join people to create a global ceasefire and day of peace and nonviolence. For info go to:

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."

Check out their page on healthcare reform at:

Consider contacting Congress at

"Crazy facts"

The US Government reports that the national unemployment rate was 9.7 percent in August -- the highest level since June 1983. That's up from 9.4 percent in July. If you add in the forced part-timers and people who'd like to work but aren't looking, the national unemployment rate in August reached 16.8 percent -- up 6 percent from a year ago.

Prayers of Intersession

Response: Almighty God, empower us to put our faith into works.

For those who are poor and without adequate food, clothing or shelter, we pray….

For those who are with employment a living wage, we pray….

For all our children who are without access to a quality education, we pray….

For all those who do not have access to the medical help that they need, we pray….

For all those who are denied any of their basic human rights, we pray….

As we have just passed the eighth anniversary, for all the families who still feel the pain of loss after the events of September 11, we pray….

For all those who are suffering in any way, especially those who are suffering as they struggle to put their faith into practice, we pray….

Prayer - Meditation


An International Prayer for Peace from

Lead me from death to life, from falsehood to truth.
Lead me from despair to hope, from fear to trust.
Lead me from hate to love, from war to peace.
Let peace fill our heart, our world, our universe.
Peace, peace, peace.

(Adapted from the Upanishads by Satish Kumar)