Engaging Faith | Wed, Feb 23, 2011
Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time [a]
February 27, 2011
1 Corinthians 4:1-5
March 1: International Day for the Abolition of the Death Penalty
March 1: International Women of Color Day http://www.womenofcolorday.com/
March 1: fiftieth anniversary of the Peace Corps http://www.peacecorps.gov
March: Women’s History Month
March 8: International Women’s Day
March 9: Ash Wednesday, Start of Lent
The world expects from Christians a consistent witness of communion and solidarity.
Pope John Paul II, Message for Lent, 2001
A person is alienated if he refuses to transcend himself and to live the experience of self-giving and of the formation of an authentic human community oriented towards his final destiny, which is God.
Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 41
Sacred Scripture continually speaks to us of an active commitment to our neighbor and demands of us a shared responsibility for all of humanity.
Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 51
God destined the earth and all it contains for all people and nations so that all created things would be shared fairly by all humankind under the guidance of justice tempered by charity.
Vatican II, The Church in the Modern World, #69
Material goods and the way we are developing the use of them should be seen as God's gifts to us. They are meant to bring out in each one of us the image of God. We must never lose sight of how we have been created: from the earth and from the breath of God.
On Social Concern (Donders translation), #29
Thoughts for your consideration
Did you ever see the t-shirt which reads: “The rat race is over! The rats won!”?
In some ways our contemporary American culture is a giant rat race. Interest rates for smaller savers are very low. Investors are demanding more income from their investments. Corporations are engaged in a giant race to increase their profits. Consumers are pressured by ads to consume more and more. Workers are under pressure to do more for less pay and fewer benefits. Jobs move to low-wage countries. People looking for jobs give up in frustration. People are encouraged to run faster and faster and then don’t seem to get anywhere. People can feel like they are hamsters running in a wheel and trapped in their cage. Is this what God wants for human beings?
Rich people run faster and faster so that they can get ahead and earn a vacation and more luxuries. Poor people run faster and faster for lower wages (especially when we consider inflation). Middle class people are often caught in the middle needing a second job or two jobs to keep things going. Over the last three decades in the United States, income inequality has increased dramatically.
Jesus invites us to get off this crazy merry-go-round and create a Christian society or community that is built around something more than money and possessions and accumulating stuff. Jesus said to his disciples:
You cannot serve God and mammon. … do not worry about your life … Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.
God wants us to be free and alive. God wants us to create a society that is free and alive where all of God’s children share in the bounty of creation. Today in Isaiah we read: “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” God has not forgotten us. God still wants something great for us. God calls us to something great! Do not miss the call!
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
How has your life gotten too complicated with material goods?
How is God calling you to simplify things?
In today’s reading from Isaiah, we have a very feminine image for God --- God as a mother holding her infant. How does this image help you relate to God?
Actions – Links
“ONE is a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, by raising public awareness and pressuring political leaders to support smart and effective policies and programs that are saving lives, helping to put kids in school and improving futures.” Take online action on various issues by going to their site at http://www.one.org/us
The share of total income going to the top-earning 1 percent of Americans went from 8 percent in 1980 to 16 percent in 2004. … the people at the very top saw their incomes surge: In the 1970s, corporate chief executives earned 30 times as much as the average worker. Ten years ago, CEO compensation was 116 times the average. CEOs now earn close to 300 times as much as the average worker. … During the same 10-year period, American workers became among the most productive in the rich, industrialized, world. But the growth in their wages, when adjusted for inflation, was spotty at best.
All of the above is from:
Prayers of Intercession
Response: God, teach to let go and be free.
Loving God, sometimes we get caught up in our possessions and things. We pray…
Loving God, sometimes we get focused on money rather than people. We pray….
Loving God, sometimes we are filled with worry and fear. We pray….
Loving God, sometimes our cultural values keep us from enjoying the gifts we have. We pray….
Loving God, sometimes our ways of producing and consuming destroy the environment of our planet. We pray….
Loving God, sometimes our economic system makes it hard to live simply and honorably. We pray…
Loving God, help us to us to let go and live as you want us to live. We pray….
Prayer - Meditation
God help us to live slowly:
To move simply:
To look softly:
To allow emptiness:
To let the heart create for us. Amen.
~by Michael Leunig