Engaging Faith | Fri, Dec 11, 2009
Fourth Sunday of Advent (c)
December 20, 2009
December 7 - 18: United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen
December 18: International Migrants Day http://www.december18.net/promoting-migrants-rights/international-migran...
December 21: winter solstice
December 25: Christmas
December 26: Saint Stephen
December 26: Start of Kwanzaa
In our own time, there are so many needs which demand a compassionate response from Christians. … How can it be that even today there are still people dying of hunger? Condemned to illiteracy? Lacking the most basic medical care? Without a roof over their heads?
John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte, 50
Any human society, if it is to be well-ordered and productive, must lay down as a foundation this principle, namely, that every human being is a person, that is, human nature is endowed with intelligence and free will. Indeed, precisely because he is a person he has rights and obligations flowing directly and simultaneously from his very nature. And as these rights and obligations are universal and inviolable so they cannot in any way be surrendered. If we look upon the dignity of the human person in the light of divinely revealed truth, we cannot help but esteem it far more highly; for people are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, they are by grace the children and friends of God and heirs of eternal glory.
John XXIII, Pacem et Terris, 9-10
God’s everlasting "today" has come down into the fleeting today of the world and lifted our momentary today into God’s eternal today. … And on every child shines something of the splendor of that "today", of that closeness of God which we ought to love and to which we must yield – it shines on every child, even on those still unborn.
Benedict XVI, 24 December 2005
In the face of the enormous problems surrounding the development of peoples, which almost make us yield to discouragement, we find solace in the sayings of our Lord Jesus Christ, who teaches us: "Apart from me you can do nothing" (Jn 15:5) and then encourages us: "I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Mt 28:20). As we contemplate the vast amount of work to be done, we are sustained by our faith that God is present alongside those who come together in his name to work for justice.
Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 78
Thoughts for your consideration
Elizabeth gets excited about Mary’s pregnancy and is not afraid to voice her enthusiasm. Micah is excited that from the obscure town of Bethlehem, will come a Messiah that will shepherd the people. Behind the excitement of both Micah and Elizabeth is one of the fundamental principles of Catholic Social Teaching – namely, the dignity of the human person. In the Incarnation we find a special affirmation of human dignity. The child of Bethlehem is important and special and thus we are reminded that all children are special and important. God is incarnate! God is with us!
All people are made in the very image of God and God is incarnate in our image. Poor people in obscure villages, political leaders in Washington, children growing up in the inner city, students at elite universities, single parents struggling to make it, prisoners, refugees, landless farmers, women, the elderly, and those caught up in war are all human beings with dignity. All people should be greeted with an exciting "Blessed are you…."
The selection from Micah ends with the line "He shall be peace." We receive a special challenge in light of ongoing war in Iraq and the dozens of other active conflicts around our world. In his 2005 Christmas Eve homily Benedict XVI said
Christ gives himself to us and, in doing so, gives us his peace. He gives it to us so that we can carry the light of peace within and give it to others. He gives it to us so that we can become peacemakers and builders of peace in the world. And so we pray: Lord, fulfill your promise! Where there is conflict, give birth to peace! Where there is hatred, make love spring up! Where darkness prevails, let light shine! Make us heralds of your peace! Amen.
Questions for your Faith Sharing Community
Who are the types of people in whom you have trouble feeling the presence of God?
When do you have trouble feeling the dignity of every human person?
Actions - Links
The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen took place from December 7 to 18. Catholic Social Teaching calls for us to care for the environment. The Bishop’s website makes available links to lots of Catholic resources at http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/ejp/climate/index.shtml
Faithful Stewards of God's Creation:
A Catholic Resource for Environmental Justice and Climate Change
As people of Faith, we are convinced that "the earth is the Lord's and all it holds….We believe our response to global climate change should be a sign of our respect for God's creation. (Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good, US Catholic Bishops, 2001)
Regular blog postings on developments at the conference appear at www.coc.org.
International Migrants Day
"December 18 is a Brussels-based non-profit organization working for the promotion and protection of the rights of migrants worldwide. The name of the organization refers to the day when the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the "International Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families".
December 18 is also known as International Migrants Day." http://www.december18.net/
Catholics Confront Global Poverty is an initiative by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services. Get info at http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/globalpoverty/
Over 25,000 children die every day around the world.
* 1 child dying every 3.5 seconds
* 17-18 children dying every minute
* Over 9 million children dying every year
* Some 70 million children dying between 2000 and 2007
"The silent killers are poverty, hunger, easily preventable diseases and illnesses, and other related causes. In spite of the scale of this daily/ongoing catastrophe, it rarely manages to achieve, much less sustain, prime-time, headline coverage."
The above is from
and is based on a UNICEF report.
Prayers of Intercession
Response: God, help us make room for peace and justice.
For children who are living with poverty, we pray….
For migrants and refugees, we pray….
For those without employment, we pray….
For those without homes, we pray….
For the elderly, we pray….
For all those who are sick or suffering, we pray….
For the people who live in places of war and violence, we pray…
For all those who have lost hope, we pray….
Prayer - Meditation
God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world:
peace in the hearts of all men and women
and peace among the nations of the earth.
Turn to your way of love
those whose hearts and minds
are consumed with hatred.
~~Benedict XVI, New York City, 20 April 2008
in the name of the one
who gave bread to the hungry,
we remember all
who through our human ignorance,
folly, and sin
are condemned to live in want.
Show us, who have so much,
what we can do
to help those who have so little;
and bless the efforts of those
who work to overcome poverty and hunger,
that sufficient food may be found for all;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
~~From the Book of Common Order of the Church of Scotland, St. Andrew Press.