Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time [c]

Engaging Faith | Fri, Jul 23, 2010

By John Bucki, SJ

Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time [c]
August 1, 2010

Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23
Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11
Luke 12:13-21

July 31: Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus
August 1: Feast of St. Alphonsus Ligouri, founder of the Redemptorists
August 6: Feast of the Transfiguration
August 6: Anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima
August 9: Anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb over Nagasaki


In the case of needy peoples it must be asked whether belonging to the Church places people on a rich island within an ambient of poverty. In societies enjoying a higher level of consumer spending, it must be asked whether our life style exemplifies that sparingness with regard to consumption which we preach to others as necessary in order that so many millions of hungry people throughout the world may be fed.
1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World, 48

It is not wrong to want to live better; what is wrong is a style of life which is presumed to be better when it is directed towards "having" rather than "being", and which wants to have more, not in order to be more but in order to spend life in enjoyment as an end in itself. It is therefore necessary to create life-styles in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of common growth are the factors which determine consumer choices, savings and investments.
John Paul II, Centesius Annus, 36

"To achieve sustainable development and a higher quality of life for all people, states should reduce and eliminate unsustainable patterns of production and consumption..."
Principle 8, The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, 1992

Do not let a desire for wealth cause you to become so consumed by your work that you prevent happiness for yourself and your family. 
Thich Nhat Hanh

Respect for nature by everyone, a policy of openness to immigrants, the cancellation or significant reduction of the debt of poorer nations, the promotion of peace through dialogue and negotiation, the primacy of the rule of law: these are the priorities which the leaders of the developed nations cannot disregard. A global world is essentially a world of solidarity!
John Paul II, July 23, 2001, Audience with President Bush

Unless combated and overcome by social and political action, the influence of the new industrial and technological order favors the concentration of wealth, power and decision-making in the hands of a small public or private controlling group. Economic injustice and lack of social participation keep people from attaining their basic human and civil rights.
1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World, 9

Thoughts for your consideration

There is a temptation in the culture of the United States to become addicted to work and accomplishments, to worry about money, to find one’s value in possessions and to judge life by one’s material wealth and status.  The scriptures strongly challenge this way of thinking and living.

Jesus says "Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one's life does not consist of possessions."  Paul writes: “Put to death the greed that is idolatry.”  The Teacher in Ecclesiastes points out that all the fruit of human toil can sometimes just be “vanity.”

Even in light of the serious recession that continues to oppress so many ordinary people, the wealth of the United States is striking when we compare the US situation to the economic situation of many other nations.  In light of the economic inequality between the United States and other nations, the desire of the United States government to defend its economic interests can often appear to other nations as “greedy” and “selfish.”  At the same time many individual Americans are very generous with their possessions and time and talent.  Not all people in the affluent American society are worried about possessions and wealth.

God’s word today invites us to be aware of our own behavior – as individuals and as a society. Out of this awareness – out of this examination of consciousness – will come the wisdom to live lives that are more in tune with the gospel values of Jesus.  Then will come a genuine ability to celebrate the gifts we have been given. Then will come a freedom to share and enjoy those gifts and not to be a slave to them.

We are not all greedy, yet sometimes we are tempted by “a culture of greed.” 
The good news of Jesus Christ invites us to be free.

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
When have you been most worried or concerned about material goods and possessions?
How did you deal with your worry or concern? 
What helped you keep your values in balance?

Actions – Links

This month we mark the 65th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The arms race is a threat to our highest good, which is life; it makes poor peoples and individuals yet more miserable, while making richer those already powerful; it creates a continuous danger of conflagration, and in the case of nuclear arms, it threatens to destroy all life from the face of the earth.
1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World, 9

“The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation initiates and supports worldwide efforts to abolish nuclear weapons, to strengthen international law and institutions, and to inspire and empower a new generation of peace leaders.”  Review their various resources at .     

A condensed Catholic Update on the Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Peace, The Challenge of Peace, can be found on line at

The Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker Lobby in the Public Interest, is encouraging us to make peace an election issue. Check out their web site at    In the United States, Pentagon spending of all sorts can be very wasteful. They invite us to ask candidates for election to promise to require the Pentagon to conduct a real audit of its spending.  Participate at

“Crazy Facts”

Today there are still more than 20,000 nuclear weapons in the world.
Nine countries now possess these weapons.

For each dollar of federal income tax we paid in 2009, the government spent about 33 cents on total  Pentagon spending for current & and past wars.

Prayers of Intercession

Response: God, help us to focus on what is really important.
For those who are always excessively worried about possessions and money, we pray….
For those who do not have enough to eat or decent housing, we pray…..
For those who have a surplus of things and resources, we pray….
For those nations and political groups who rely on violence and war and weapons, we pray….
For those who are under stress because of work and other responsibilities, we pray….
For those who tend to focus on status and appearances, we pray….
For those who are discouraged by what they have or don’t have, we pray….

The following prayer about the beatitudes is from

Lord Jesus, you said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Keep us from being preoccupied with money and worldly goods, and with trying to increase them at the expense of justice.

Lord Jesus, you said, "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth." Help us not to be ruthless with one another, and to eliminate the discord and violence that exists in the world around us.

Lord Jesus, you said, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Let us not be impatient under our own burdens and unconcerned about the burdens of others.

Lord Jesus, you said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be filled." Make us thirst for you, the fountain of all holiness, and actively spread your influence in our private lives and in society.

Lord Jesus, you said, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy." Grant that we may be quick to forgive and slow to condemn.

Lord Jesus, you said, "Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God." Free us from our senses and our evil desires, and fix our eyes on you.

Lord Jesus, you said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God." Aid us to make peace in our families, in our country, and in the world.

Lord Jesus, you said, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of justice, for the kingdom of heaven in theirs." Make us willing to suffer for the sake of right rather than to practice injustice; and do not let us discriminate against our neighbors and oppress and persecute them.