Engaging Faith | Fri, Oct 16, 2009
Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]
October 25, 2009
October 24: United Nations Day
October 31: Halloween
November 1: Feast of All Saints
Love - caritas - is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace.
Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 1
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, defend the rights of those who have nothing. Speak up and judge fairly, and defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Love for others, and in the first place love for the poor,
in whom the Church sees Christ himself,
is made concrete in the promotion of justice.
John Paul II, Centesimus Annus
Church has the right, indeed the duty, to proclaim justice on the social, national and international level, and to denounce instances of injustice, when the fundamental rights of people and their very salvation demand it. .... Her mission involves defending and promoting the dignity and fundamental rights of the human person. ... Our mission demands that we should courageously denounce injustice, with charity, prudence and firmness, in sincere dialogue with all parties concerned.
1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World, 36, 37
Thoughts for your consideration
Our commitment to Catholic Social Teaching calls us to speak up for what is right and just. The Spirit of Christ gives us the courage to speak up and shout and proclaim the divine message of healing and inclusion -- the message of justice and peace.
In today's gospel, Bartimaeus is rewarded for his courage to speak up. Many people tell him to be silent, yet he speaks up. "Jesus, son of David, have pity on me." Jesus stops and Bartimaeus is healed. He can now see and he is now included in the community of people following Jesus.
The first reading from Jeremiah tells us to "Shout for joy." Jeremiah tells us to proclaim the liberation that comes from God. People are gathered from all the parts of the earth. Everyone is welcome. Those who are blind or lame are healed and brought into the community.
The second reading from Hebrews reminds us that all this takes place even as we are "beset by weaknesses." God's desire is to bring people together. God's desire is to heal and restore us all to a community of peace. God desires to give us the courage to speak up and act to make all of this real today.
The movement of today's readings is toward the formation of community where all people can come together, where healing abounds, where those in need are welcomed, where people speak up for what is right. This is the vision of our social teaching.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
When have you experienced the courage to speak up for justice?
Did you experience any opposition? Did some people tell you to be silent?
What situations in our world call for us to speak up?
What injustices call for us to use our voices?
Actions - Links
Change, Not Chains Campaign
"Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 80 religious denominations and faith communities, human rights, environmental, labor, and community groups working for the definitive cancellation of crushing debts to fight poverty and injustice in Asia, Africa, and Latin America." Jubilee USA invites participation in their Change, Not Chains Campaign to urge the United States government to support expanded debt cancellation and tell Congress to pass the Jubilee Act for Responsible Lending & Expanded Debt Cancellation! For information on how to participate go to http://www.jubileeusa.org/changenotchains.html
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
High School Dropouts and Incarceration
The Consequences of Dropping Out of High School, Joblessness and Jailing for High School Dropouts and the High Cost for Taxpayers, a report published this month and available at http://www.clms.neu.edu/publication/documents/The_Consequences_of_Dropping_Out_of_High_School.pdf, reports that in 2006-2007 approximately 23 of every 100 young Black dropouts were incarcerated in juvenile homes, jails, and prisons versus only 6 to 7 of every 100 Asians, Hispanics, and Whites.
Global Debt among the Poorest Nations
Jubilee USA reports "The global economic crisis will push 100 million people into extreme poverty this year. More than 30 poor countries are in now in serious debt distress."
Prayers of Intercession
Response: God, help us work together for the common good.
For an end to all the wars and fighting around the world, we pray...
For an end to economic injustice in our land and everywhere, we pray...
For an end to the indebtedness of the poorest nations, we pray...
For employment and living wages for all workers, we pray....
For integrity and good values in the actions of our political leaders, we pray...
For those who lead the large corporations that are so powerful in our world, we pray....
For respect for the common good of all, we pray...
For respect for life everywhere, we pray...
Prayer - Meditation
Prayer to Focus
What is really important?
God, help me to focus on what is really important.
Help me to focus on what will give life.
Help me to focus on what promotes justice and peace.
Help me to let go of all the little things that don't matter.
Help me to let go of legalism that blocks your spirit.
God, you are my Mother, my Father; You love me.
Help me to trust in your plan - your plan for life.
- - your plan for the fullness of life for everyone.
God, you are the Spirit of Life for the whole world.
Remove violence from my life.
Remove violence from our world.
Teach us how to speak up for justice without violence.
Teach us how to learn from the poor.
Teach us how to drop our religious intolerance
and to learn from each other.
God, help us to focus on what is really important.
Help us to focus on what will give life.
Help us to focus on what promotes justice and peace