Engaging Faith | Fri, Sep 25, 2009
Twenty-seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]
October 4, 2009
Mark 10:2-16 or 10:2-12
October 4: Feast of St. Francis of Assisi
October 5: World Teacher's Day
The first and fundamental structure for a "human ecology" is the family, founded on marriage, in which the mutual gift of self as husband and wife creates an environment in which children can be born and grow up.
John Paul II, The Hundredth Year #49
Today no one can be unaware of the fact that on some continents countless men and women are ravished by hunger and countless children are undernourished. Many children die at an early age; many more of them find their physical and mental growth retarded. ... The moment for action has reached a critical juncture. Can countless innocent children be saved? Can countless destitute families obtain more human living conditions? Can world peace and human civilization be preserved intact?
Paul VI, Populorum Progressio
Being out of work or dependent on public or private assistance for a prolonged period undermines the freedom and creativity of the person and his family and social relationships, causing great psychological and spiritual suffering.
Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 25
The reality of the Church as Communion is, then, the integrating aspect, indeed the central content of the "mystery", or rather, the divine plan for the salvation of humanity.
John Paul II, Christifideles Laici
To overcome today's individualistic mentality, a concrete commitment to solidarity and charity is needed, beginning in the family.
John Paul II, The Hundredth Year #49
Thoughts for your consideration
Imbedded in today's readings are a number of values that are important in Catholic Social Teaching:
- the dignity of the human person [Jesus condemns the practice of writing a bill of divorce and just dismissing a wife. Jesus welcomes and respects the children.]
- the special care we need to have for children ["For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."]
- the value of relationships ["It is not good for the man to be alone."]
- the importance of commitment
- the importance of caring for the earth and its ecology in a responsible way. [The human person is even given the power to name each of the earth's creatures.]
Relationship and solidarity are central Christian values. These values are manifest in everyday interpersonal values - as in the loving relationship of a husband and wife - and also in the social and economic values that bind us together as nations and the world community.
Marriage is a deep commitment of two people to one another. In the same way, the Social Teaching of the church reflects a commitment of the church and its members to one another and to the promotion of justice in the world. A married couple is not concerned only with their own private relationship but also with the bigger world in which we all live. In the same way, Catholic Social Teaching is an expansive commitment.
A marriage is celebrated and lived out in the context of a bigger story. The bigger story is the biblical story of liberation and freedom. Marriage should be a source of freedom and joy. If marriage is seen in light of all the work of God in the world then the couple can see more clearly their vocation in that world. A spirit of freedom and service will then follow.
Elsewhere, the scriptures compare the loving relationship between a husband and a wife with the relationship between Christ and the church. A desire for domination over another is replaced with the desire for loving mutuality. A good marriage models a spirit of peace and active non-violence.
As we read the creation story today, we are reminded of our commitment to care for the creation that God has given us. Recently, Pope Benedict in Caritas in Veritate wrote: "The environment is God's gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole."
In the longer form of the gospel, Jesus places a child in the midst of the group. It is very fitting to reflect on the various justice issues that affect the children of our world, especially those which relate to war and violence. One in three American children will be poor at some point in their childhood. Most of the people in the world who live in poverty are children. It has been estimated that over 300,000 children under the age of 18 are currently being used in more than 30 conflicts worldwide. So many children do not have the opportunity for a quality education.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
What is the most important relationship in your life?
How does this relationship help you to live out the social values of the gospel?
Actions - Links
The Catholic News Service reports "Bishops say health reform should include all immigrants, legal or not." Read the story at: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0904223.htm
Read Time Magazine's short piece, "For the World's Hungry, the Recession Is Far from Over," at
Our social teaching calls us to work to protect the environment and to respect the earth. Pope Benedict in Caritas in Veritate wrote: "The environment is God's gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole." Below are a few of many sites that allow you to speak up to government and industry about your concerns for our environment:
Natural Resources Defense Council: http://www.nrdc.org/action/default.asp
Audubon Society: http://audubonaction.org/audubon/home.html
Co-op America http://www.coopamerica.org/takeaction/
The World Food Program writes: "There are 1.02 billion undernourished people in the world today. That means one in nearly six people do not get enough food to be healthy and lead an active life." http://www.wfp.org/hunger
Prayers of Intercession
Response: God, bring us together in peace.
For all who live together in committed relationships, may their mutual love find support from the community and in turn be a source of support and hope to the community, we pray...
For all our children, that they may be gifted with the love, respect, education, shelter, and nourishment so that they can grow into their full statue as loving people of God, we pray...
For all the nations and groups of our world, that we will learn to have healthy peaceful relationships with one another, we pray....
For all the creatures of our world, as we name them may we also learn to treat them with care and respect, we pray...
For a renewed commitment to make changes in the way we live so as stop our destruction of the earth and decrease our carbon footprint, we pray.....
For the wisdom and courage we need to make changes to how we live, so that we will not destroy the earth we have been given but treasure it with wonder and joy, we pray....
Prayer - Meditation
A Prayer of St Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is discord, vision.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.