Engaging Faith | Fri, Nov 6, 2009
Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]
November 15, 2009
November 15: America Recycles Day [http://americarecyclesday.org]
November 16: Twentieth Anniversary of the deaths of the 6 Jesuits and 2 women at the University of Central America in 1989
November 16: International Day for Tolerance [http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/tolerance/ ]
God's people clung tenaciously to hope in the promise of an eschatological time when, in the fullness of salvation, peace and justice would embrace and all creation would be secure from harm. The people looked for a messiah, one whose coming would signal the beginning of that time. In their waiting, they heard the prophets call them to love according to the covenantal vision, to repent, and to be ready for God's reign.
The Challenge of Peace, US Bishop’s Peace Pastoral, 36
May people learn to fight for justice without violence, renouncing class struggle in their internal disputes, and war in international ones.
John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 23
…there is a better understanding today that the mere accumulation of goods and services, even for the benefit of the majority, is not enough for the realization of human happiness. Nor, in consequence, does the availability of the many real benefits provided in recent times by science and technology, including the computer sciences, bring freedom from every form of slavery. On the contrary, the experience of recent years shows that unless all the considerable body of resources and potential at human disposal is guided by a moral understanding and by an orientation towards the true good of the human race, it easily turns against human beings to oppress them.
John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 28
Violence puts the brakes on authentic development and impedes the evolution of peoples towards greater socio-economic and spiritual well-being. This applies especially to terrorism motivated by fundamentalism, which generates grief, destruction and death, obstructs dialogue between nations and diverts extensive resources from their peaceful and civil uses.
Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 29
Thoughts for your consideration
The social teaching of the church invites us to connect the scriptures today with contemporary issues. We may want to reflect on that human behavior which seems to be contributing to a possible time "unsurpassed in distress."
* One might reflect on the human damage to our environment caused by over-consumption in our consumer culture.
* One might reflect on the human behavior that is contributing to climate change.
* One might think about uncontrolled violence that seems to be unfolding in various parts of our world – suicide bombings, the use of torture, political oppression, etc.
* One might reflect on the grave consequences to so many individuals and families of the current great recession and financial meltdown.
* One might reflect on the economic injustice experienced by people in poor neighborhoods in our nation or by the poorer nations on the world.
* As we pray about the "end times," we might reflect on the awesome destruction caused by war or the preparations for war. We might want to reflect on the damage that can come from nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction, or excessive spending for armaments in the midst of so many human needs.
In short, we might reflect on the apocalyptic implications of the many examples of human behavior gone wrong.
The readings today also point to hope in the midst of the problems we face. "Those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever." "My words will not pass away." The readings don’t have to leave us with just a sense of guilt or hopelessness. Our social teaching offers us enduring values that give us hope in the midst of the social problems of our world.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
Share an example of a contemporary situation the has felt to you to be a time of great tribulation or "unsurpassed in distress." How has your faith challenged you in this situation? Has it challenged you to work for justice or peace?
Actions - Links
SOA Watch: Twenty years ago, on November 16, 1989, 6 Jesuits and 2 women were murdered in El Salvador at the Jesuit University for speaking up and acting for justice. They were killed by soldiers trained at the US Army School of Americas (SOA) in Fort Benning, Georgia. In the years before and after, over 70,000 men, women and children were killed in the violence and struggle for justice in El Salvador. Next weekend, thousands of people are expected to gather at the gates of Fort Benning in Georgia to protest the continued existence of this school (now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) and to remember those who will were killed. For info go to: www.soaw.org.
Torture: Download a tool kit about the use of torture at
"No other century — no millennium — in human history can compare with the 20th for its growth in energy use. We have probably deployed more energy since 1900 than in all of human history before 1900. Very rough calculations suggest that the world in the 20th century used 10 times as much energy as in the thousand years before 1900 A.D. In the 100 centuries between the dawn of agriculture and 1900, people used only about two-thirds as much energy as in the 20th century ….. The average American in the 1990s used 50 to 100 times as much energy as the average Bangladeshi…" http://www.theglobalist.com/StoryId.aspx?StoryId=2018
Prayers of Intercession
Response: God, let us to lead the many to justice and become like the stars forever.
For an end to the violence and distress in Iraq Afghanistan, Pakistan and other troubled lands, we pray….
For an end to the craziness of building more weapons of war, violence, and mass destruction, we pray….
For an end to all the over-consumption that threatens to destroy our planet, we pray…..
For an end to our excess use of energy that leads to global warming and other harm to the earth, we pray….
For the beginning of the responsible use of our natural resources, we pray….
For the beginning of dialogue, conversation, and respect between the diverse peoples of our world, we pray….
For the beginning of a new era of peace and nonviolence, we pray….
For the economic justice for all those who are oppressed, we pray….
Prayer - Meditation
God of life, help us to choose life, not death.
God of life, help us to respect, not destroy.
God of life, help us treasure, not control.
God of life, help us see our value not in things, but in your gifts.
God of life, beat our swords into plowshares,
Beat our spears into pruning hooks,
Replace our shopping sprees with celebrations of community
Replace our busyness with contemplation
Change our things into gifts.
Change our violence into your peace.
God of life, help us to choose life, not death.