Engaging Faith | Fri, Jul 30, 2010
Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time [c]
August 8, 2010
Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19
August 6: Anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima
August 9: Anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb over Nagasaki
August 12: International Youth Day (A U.N. celebration)
August 14: Feast of Maximilian Kolbe, priest and martyr
August 15: Feast of the Assumption of Mary
Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel, or, in other words, of the Church's mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation.
1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World, 6
We must repeat that the superfluous goods of wealthier nations ought to be placed at the disposal of poorer nations. The rule, by virtue of which in times past those nearest us were to be helped in time of need, applies today to all the needy throughout the world. And the prospering peoples will be the first to benefit from this. Continuing avarice on their part will arouse the judgment of God and the wrath of the poor, with consequences no one can foresee. If prosperous nations continue to be jealous of their own advantage alone, they will jeopardize their highest values, sacrificing the pursuit of excellence to the acquisition of possessions. We might well apply to them the parable of the rich man. His fields yielded an abundant harvest and he did not know where to store it: "But God said to him, 'Fool, this very night your soul will be demanded from you . . .' "
Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 49
The fundamental sin is exploitation, whether it be expressed in the domination of male over female, white over black, rich over poor, strong over weak, armed military over unarmed civilians, human beings over nature. These analogously abusive patterns interlock because they rest on the same base: a structure where an elite insists on its superiority and claims the right to exercise dominative power over all others considered subordinate, for its own benefit.
Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ, She Who Is, 27
Feminist liberation theology hopes so to change unjust structures and distorted symbol systems that a new community in church and society becomes possible, a liberating community of all women and men characterized by mutuality with each other and harmony with the earth.
Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ, She Who Is, 31
Thoughts for your consideration
Jesus says to his disciples: "Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your God is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”
The scriptures today invite us to keep our values in perspective. The great people of faith, who are discussed in Hebrews, held onto values which transcended what was immediate. In this way they were so energized by their great faith that great things happened for them and their community.
To use the image of the gospel, the Christian is invited to respond to the knocking. Thus, the Christian is invited to listen to the call of those in the need and so to live responsibly in a spirit of justice for all, to respect and care for the earth, to treat all people and all of life with respect, to turn away from violence and war, to work for human rights, and to have special concern for the poor and marginalized.
In the gospel story of the master who is abusive to others, we may hear the challenge to think about those who experience abuse in our contemporary world. We may recall those who experience abuse in a systemic way by our economic and political systems. We might be involved in the systems ourselves. We might note the systemic abuse of women and children in our economic system, the trafficking in women for use in the sex business, the enslavement of young African children to harvest coco beans for chocolate, the employment of people in bad working conditions at sweat shop wages, the large numbers of people experiencing abuse by oppressive governments, the people who live in fear of the constant violence, the families who live in war zones, or many other examples.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
In the gospel Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”
Where is your treasure?
Where is your heart?
Which of your behaviors reflect those values that are most important to you?
In the gospel we hear: “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.” How is God knocking on your door?
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 http://www.wagingpeace.org .
A condensed Catholic Update on the Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Peace, The Challenge of Peace, can be found on line at http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0883.asp
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 http://www.fcnl.org/index.htm 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
Every year the United Nations celebrates International Youth Day on August 12. The theme this year is “Dialogue and Mutual Understanding.” You can read about it at: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/iyouthday.htm
It is estimated that as many as 27 million people are in some form of “modern-day slavery” across the world. It is estimated that 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year. http://www.dreamcenter.org/new/images/outreach/RescueProject/stats.pdf
Prayers of Intercession
Response: Help us to respond with open hearts.
For those without a fair share of the resources of our earth, we pray....
For those without a living wage or a piece of land to call their own, we pray....
For those who live in fear of violence and abuse, we pray....
For those who cannot give their children the things they need, we pray....
For those who are hungry today, we pray…..
For those who are alone and isolated from community, we pray…..
For those our planet earth with all its resources and wonders, we pray....
A Prayer attributed to St. Anselm of Canterbury and found at http://www.anglocatholicsocialism.org/prayers.html
Almighty God, you teach us by reason that all the riches of the world are made by you for our common use, and that by nature not one of them belongs to one human being more than to another; direct us, we pray, in obedience to your will, that all things may serve all people, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer for Liberation from Materialism by Peter Marshall found at the Christian Resource Institute at http://www.crivoice.org/prayers.html
Forbid it, Lord, that our roots become too firmly attached to this earth, that we should fall in love with things. Help us to understand that the pilgrimage of this life is but an introduction, a preface, a training school for what is to come.
Then shall we see all of life in its true perspective. Then shall we not fall in love with the things of time, but come to love the things that endure. Then shall we be saved from the tyranny of possessions which we have no leisure to enjoy, of property whose care becomes a burden. Give us, we pray, the courage to simplify our lives.
So may we be mature in our faith, childlike but never childish, humble but never cringing, understanding but never conceited. So help us, O God, to live and not merely to exist, that we may have joy in our work. In your name, who alone can give us moderation and balance and zest for living, we pray. Amen.