Engaging Faith | Fri, Oct 9, 2009
Twenty-ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]
October 18, 2009
Mark 10:35-45 or 10:42-45
October 17: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
October 18: World Mission Sunday
October 24: United Nations Day
One may not take as the ultimate criteria in economic life the interests of individuals or organized groups, nor unregulated competition, nor excessive power on the part of the wealthy, nor the vain honor of the nation or its desire for domination, nor anything of this sort.
Pope John XXIII
Charity of its nature opens out into a service that is universal; it inspires in us a commitment to practical and concrete love for every human being.
Pope John Paul II
It is by uniting his own sufferings for the sake of truth and freedom to the sufferings of Christ on the Cross that a human person is able to accomplish the miracle of peace and is in a position to discern the often narrow path between the cowardice which gives in to evil and the violence which, under the illusion of fighting evil, only makes it worse. ... A human person is alienated if he refuses to transcend himself and to live the experience of self giving and of the formation of an authentic human community oriented towards his final destiny, which is God.
John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 25, 41
Salvation comes to us through all women and men who love truth more than lies, who are more eager to give than to receive, and whose love is that supreme love that gives life rather than keeping it for oneself.
Jon Sobrino SJ, Spirituality of Liberation
The one gift of salvation coming from God through Jesus-Sophia in the Spirit upends power relationships, transforming all teachers, fathers, masters, great ones into servants of the little ones. ... Jesus' Abba signifies a compassionate, liberating God....
Elizabeth Johnson CSJ, She Who Is
The Church's mission is to spread hope "contagiously" among all peoples.
Pope Benedict XVI
Thoughts for your consideration
The scriptures today offer a radical critique of the values that seem to dominate our world. Our culture seems to idealize those who are "the greatest" - those who have power over others, or political control, or the most wealth and influence, or the highest rating in the polls, or the most exposure in the media. Jesus instead invites the disciples into lives of service not power - into lives of sacrifice not domination -- into community and the common good and not just one's own personal well-being. Catholic Social Teaching invites us into a commitment to social change, a special option for the poor, a desire for community and solidarity between all people, and a preference for nonviolence rather than violence.
The scriptures today also remind us that God wants to be connected with our humanness and weakness. God shares our suffering and our struggle for what is right and just in the world. The God whom we find in Jesus is a God who is the "servant of all."
On this World Mission Sunday, we are reminded that our mission is the mission of Jesus. It is a mission of service to the world and not one of domination over the world or the world's people. Pope Benedict in his message for World Mission Sunday writes: "...the Church works not to extend her power or assert her dominion, but to lead all people to Christ, the salvation of the world. ... The Church's mission is to spread hope "contagiously" among all peoples." It is a mission that is as big as the whole world. We are invited to see things from and learn from a perspective much bigger than our own self or family or nation or political or ethnic group.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
Where do you see people competing to dominate and control others?
Or Where do you see people in our world trying to be "servants" to all?
What person or persons in your life has been a powerful example of someone who gives herself (himself) in service to others?
Actions - Links
The Common Good
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good is "a non-partisan non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the fullness of the Catholic social tradition in the public square." Their web site is: http://www.catholicsinalliance.org/
World Mission Sunday
For the Holy Father's thoughts for World Mission Sunday, go to: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/missions/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20090629_world-mission-day-2009_en.html
Advocacy Tool Kits
Jesuit Social Ministries has available online four-page tool kits which provide an overview of issues, explain the Jesuit response, offer reflection questions, resources, and suggested actions. Go to: http://www.jesuit.org/SocialJustice/WarandViolence/Banning+the+Use+of+Torture/ToolKitDownloads/default.aspx
For September, 2009, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports: "The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) rose by 450,000 to 5.4 million. In September, 35.6 percent of unemployed persons were job-less for 27 weeks or more." Unemployment rates for the major worker groups were: "adult men (10.3 percent), adult women (7.8 percent), teenagers (25.9 percent), whites (9.0 percent), blacks (15.4 percent), and Hispanics (12.7 percent)." http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm
Prayers of Intercession
Response: God, help us work for the common good of all.
For a renewed commitment toservice for and with others, we pray....
For the grace to continue to work for and with the poor and to learn from those who are poor and in need, we pray....
For an end to the war and violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and all the troubled parts of our world and for a genuine respect for human rights, we pray....
For those in the poorest regions of our world, for people who do not have enough to eat or adequate shelter to live in, we pray....
For a spirit of openness to the needs and concerns of all, we pray...
For our church to faithfully spread hope among all peoples, we pray....
Prayer - Meditation
O God, all holy one, you are our Mother and our Father and we are your children. Open our eyes and our hearts so that we may be able to discern your work in the universe. And be able to see Your features in every one of Your children. May we learn that there are many paths but all lead to You. Help us to know that you have created us for family, for togetherness, for peace, for gentleness, for compassion, for caring, for sharing.
May we know that You want us to care for one another as those who know that they are sisters and brothers, members of the same family, Your family, the human family. Help us to beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks, so that we may be able to live in peace and harmony, wiping away the tears from the eyes of those who are less fortunate than ourselves. And may we know war no more, as we strive to be what You want us to be: Your children. Amen.
By Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa