Engaging Faith | Mon, Oct 18, 2010
Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time [c]
October 24, 2010
Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
October 24: World Mission Sunday
October 24: United Nations Day
October 24-30: Disarmament Week: http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/disarmament/
October 31: Halloween
The God of life summons us to life; more, to be lifegivers, especially toward those who lie under the heel of the powers.
Daniel Berrigan SJ
Sophia pitches her tent in the midst of the world; …. This is profoundly good news for persons who are poor, denigrated, oppressed, struggling, victimized, and questing for life and the fullness of life, the majority of whom are women their dependent children.
Elizabeth Johnson CSJ, She Who Is, 150
If religion has so neglected the needs of the poor and of the great mass of workers and permitted them to live in the most horrible destitution while comforting them with the solace of a promise of a life after death when all tears shall be wiped away, then that religion is suspect. Who would believe such Job's comforters? On the other hand, if those professing religion shared the life of the poor and worked to better their lot and risked their lives as revolutionaries do, and trade union organizers have done in the past, then there is a ring of truth about the promises of the glory to come. The cross is followed by the resurrection.
– Dorothy Day
The solidarity which binds all people together as members of a common family makes it impossible for wealthy nations to look with indifference upon the hunger, misery and poverty of other nations whose citizens are unable to enjoy even elementary human rights. The nations of the world are becoming more and more dependent on one another and it will not be possible to preserve a lasting peace so long as glaring economic and social imbalances persist.
John XXIII, Mater et Magistra, #157
Back in 1986, when the Catholic bishops of the United States published a pastoral on the U.S. economy and how it was working or failing to work in our country, we suggested that every time we make decisions, either as individuals but especially in groups, we must always ask three questions: What does it do to the poor? What does it do for the poor? And how do the poor participate? What if we asked those questions when we began to work for public policies in our country?
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Thoughts for your consideration
The first reading from Sirach reminds us of God’s special concern for the poor and for the oppressed. God cares for all people. God does not want to forget those who are powerless or voiceless. This is, of course, a radical statement to those of us who live in a society that seems to give special consideration to those who have lots of wealth or celebrity. [Some people even seem to worship celebrities. Some people consider financial success as a measure of worth. Changes to US tax policies seem to have reflected a preferential option for the rich.]
The gospel today reminds us not to try to exult ourselves or focus too much on our own importance. It seems that Jesus is saying that we should rather forget all that and acknowledge our limits. God seems to be more pleased with the one who does not try to be the first or most important. This is radical “good news.” We can relax and not worry about our score, our rating, our status, or our bank account. We can be ourselves. We can be free to live as Christians – as men and women for others. We can focus on what is really important.
We may be inclined to apply this parable to our own personal lives and that is important. However, we might also want to ask ourselves whether this parable can be applied to nations and institutions as well as individuals. Are “we, as institutions, governments and leaders” able to recognize our failures and our limits? Are we will to step back to become aware of our limits and even our sins so as to move forward with God’s wisdom and help? Are we able to reflect on how our practices and policies affected the poor?
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
Have you ever gotten special consideration or accommodation because you had a special need or were especially poor, weak or vulnerable? How were you helped?
How do you see our government policies affecting the poor?
What do you feel is the role of government in a world of such radical income inequality?
Actions - Links
DISARMAMENT WEEK: October 24-30
Disarmament Week has been observed by the United Nations since 1978 when Member States were invited to highlight the dangers of the arms race, promote recognition of the need to stop the arms race, and increase public understanding of the urgent tasks of disarmament.
- For an explanation of Disarmament Week go to http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/disarmament/
- For more information on this topic, visit the United Nations Web Site for Disarmament, at http://www.un.org/en/globalissues/disarmament/index.shtml .
- You might also look at the site of Pax Christi USA, the National Catholic Peace Movement, at http://www.paxchristiusa.org/
Food and Hunger Photo Essay
A very interesting photo essay on food and food costs around the world can be found online at Time.com. Go to:
“In 2009, world military expenditures exceeded some $1.5 trillion. The need for a culture of peace and for significant arms reduction worldwide has never been greater. And this applies to all classes of weapons….. But the human and material cost of conventional weapons is also extreme. Of at least 640 million licensed firearms worldwide, roughly two thirds are in the hands of civil society. The legal trade in small arms and weapons exceeds $4 billion a year. The illicit trade is estimated at $1 billion. And such conventional weapons as landmines take an toll on life and limb that continues for years after the conflicts that spawned them are finished.”
Prayers of Intercession
Response: The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
For those without access to quality affordable medical treatment, we pray….
For all those without enough to eat this day, we pray….
For all those working without a living wage, we pray….
For all those who are homeless, we pray….
For all those trapped in abusive relationships, we pray….
For all children in underperforming and underfunded schools, we pray….
For refugees throughout the world, we pray….
For all people caught up in wars and the threats of wars, we pray….
Prayer for Charity and a Preferential Option for the Poor
By Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB
Please take the bread.
It is yours.
The house with running water belongs to you.
A plot of land, a dignified job – all yours.
Forgive me for offering it.
Charity is not substitute for justice but your children are hungry now.
Spirit of Justice, break open our hearts.
Break them wide open
Let anger pour through
like strong winds
cleaning us of complacency,
Let courage pour through
like spring storms
flooding out fear.
Let zeal pour through
like blazing summer sun,
filling us with passion.
Force of Justice, grant me
anger at what is,
courage to do what must be done,
passion to break down the walls of injustice
and build a land flowing
with milk and honey
for God’s beloved,
God’s special love,
God’s Poor Ones.
Spirit of Justice break open our hearts."