Engaging Faith | Sun, Oct 31, 2010
Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time [c]
November 7, 2010
2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14
2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5
Luke 20:27-38 or 20:27, 34-38
November 7: Daylight Savings Time Ends in Most Places in the US
November 11: Veterans Day
God is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.
Alienation — and the loss of the authentic meaning of life — is a reality in Western societies too. This happens in consumerism, when people are ensnared in a web of false and superficial gratifications rather than being helped to experience their personhood in an authentic and concrete way.
John Paul II, Centesius Annus, 41
We are struck by the incredible busyness of family life that can take its toll on loving relationships. Daily we observe families overwhelmed by the demands of work, business travel, household tasks, getting to and from school, keeping appointments...Where choices exist, hours on the job need to be weighed against their impact on family life. To thrive, love requires attention, communication and time...It is hard to imagine how a family can live faithfully, be life giving and grow in mutuality without deliberately choosing to spend time together. It is especially important for couples to have time alone...So each of us needs to ask: to what am I giving my precious time? What are my priorities?
"Follow the Way of Love," a pastoral letter to families from the National Catholic Conference of Bishops
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! … A free and virtuous society, which America aspires to be, must reject practices that devalue and violate human life at any stage from conception until natural death.
John Paul II, Address to George W. Bush, 23 July 2001
Today, the same Christ is in people who are unwanted, unemployed, uncared for, hungry, naked, and homeless. They seem useless to the state and to society; nobody has time for them. It is you and I as Christians, worthy of the love of Christ if our love is true, who must find them, and help them; they are there for the finding.
- Mother Teresa
Thoughts for your consideration
The readings today challenge us to ask a question. What is really important?
Is it the legalism that we observe in the question posed by the Sadducees? Is it the unwavering religious faith in the midst of persecution that we see in the mother and seven sons in the first reading? Is it a faith in the resurrection from the dead and an afterlife? Is it what Paul calls grace, which will “encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word?” Is it found in what we say we believe? Is it found in how we act?
In the gospel today, Jesus seems to be saying that it is to be found in more than just the immediate things around us – in what we consume or in the wealth or status that we accumulate. Jesus seems to be saying that it is to be found in more than just the afterlife – in some other world that is still to come. Jesus seems to say that what is important is to be found in the here and now as well as in the past and the future.
In Luke 20:38, in his affirmation of life (“God is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”) Jesus challenges us to promote life today – in our efforts to end war and violence – in our promotion of a culture of life – in our work to insure that the poor and the rich all have an equal chance to live a healthy and complete life – in our practice of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy – in our special concern for the poor and vulnerable – in our concern for refugees and the homeless -- in our speaking up for justice for everyone – in all of our involvements in the important justice issues of our day – in our challenge to those whose actions threaten life – in our work to change the structures of society that cause death.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
When have your actions most reflected what you consider “really important?”
Share the story of some action that reflected your deepest values.
How are we being called to promote life in our society?
How can we make a world that more powerfully respects life – especially the life of those most vulnerable?
Actions - Links
National Day of Action Against Wage Theft
“Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) has called for a National Day of Action to highlight the ongoing crisis of wage theft and ways that workers and communities are organizing to stop it. November 18 is one week before Thanksgiving, a time when we celebrate our plenty at feasts throughout the nation -- but workers who have had their legal wages stolen will be struggling to provide for their families this season.” http://www.iwj.org/index.cfm/national-day-of-action-against-wage-theft
“Oxfam is an international confederation of 14 organizations working together in 99 countries and with partners and allies around the world to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice.”
Check out action ideas at: http://www.oxfamamerica.org/whatyoucando
For info go to: http://www.oxfamamerica.org/whatyoucando/take-action
You can get more info about a “hunger banquet” or other event ideas at http://actfast.oxfamamerica.org/index.php/events/banquet
According to OXFAM:
• Forty percent of the people on our planet—more than 2.5 billion—now live in poverty, struggling to survive on less than $2 a day.
• More than one billion people suffer from chronic hunger.
• More people die from hunger each year than from AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.
• According to the UN World Food Program, the number of global food emergencies has increased from an average of 15 per year during the 1980s to more than 30 per year since 2000.
Prayers of Intercession
Response: Our God is a God of Life.
God, help us to put an end to war and violence.
God, help us to put an end to any torture by our government.
God, help us to work for a world where everyone has enough to eat.
God, help us to work for a world where all have access to education.
God, help us in our care for refugees and the homeless.
God, help us to promote a culture of life everywhere.
God, inspire us to practice all the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
God, empower us to speak up for justice for everyone
Giving life to all life,
Moving all creatures,
Root of all things,
Washing them clean,
Wiping out their mistakes,
Healing their wounds,
You are our true life,
Awakening the heart from its ancient sleep.
Hildegarde of Bingen - 12 century