Engaging Faith | Wed, Aug 3, 2011
- 1 Kings 19: 9a,11-13a
- Romans 9: 1-5
- Matthew 14:22-33
August 7, 2011
1 Kings 19: 9a,11-13a
Romans 9: 1-5
August 6: Feast of the Transfiguration
August 6: Anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima in 1945
August 9: Anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb over Nagasaki in 1945
August 11: Feast of Clare of Assisi
August 14: Feast of Maximilian Mary Kolbe
August 15: Feast of the Assumption of Mary
There is a growing awareness of the sublime dignity of human persons, who stand above all things and whose rights and duties are universal and inviolable. They ought, therefore, to have ready access to all that is necessary for living a genuinely human life: for example, food, clothing, housing ... the right to education, and work...
Vatican II, The Church and the Modern World, #26
We exact your elements to make cannons and bombs
But out of our elements you create lilies and roses.
How patient you are, Earth, and how merciful!
Each person has inside a basic decency and goodness. If he listens to it and acts on it, he is giving a great deal of what it is the world needs most. It is not complicated but it takes courage. It takes courage for a person to listen to his own goodness and act on it.
… when we seek guidance in terms of discernment and decisions we need to look not just to God in heaven, but also to what is being pointed out to us by the Body of Christ on earth, namely, our families, our friends, our churches, and our communities. … God does not speak to us through séances, and the most important things that God wants to say to us are not given in extraordinary mystical visions. The God of the incarnation has real flesh on earth and speaks to us in the bread and butter of our lives, through things that have skin – historical circumstance, our families, our neighbors, our churches.
Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing, 95
Trade conditions favorable to poor countries, including, above all, broad and unconditional access to markets, should be made available and guaranteed in lasting and reliable ways.
-- Pope Benedict XVI, December 2006
Thoughts for your consideration
Today’s scriptures are centered on the experience of God and the invitation to believe.
As always, our experiences of God and of faith (belief) have a social dimension.
Our contemporary social, political and economic situation can challenge our faith. Thoughtful and effective political discourse seems to be missing on many levels. Despite the statistics and “official end of the recession” an economic recession (“the great recession”) continues for many people. Even officially, the economy has been slowing down. New statistics remind us of increasing income inequality in the United States. The war continues in Afghanistan and spreads to parts of Pakistan. Fighting continues in Libya. Protests and repression continue in Syria. Terrorist actions erupt in Norway. Fear of violence dominates our thinking and planning. Poor folks are struggling. Injustice abounds. World problems, along with local problems and personal problems, can overwhelm us.
For serious Christians, the existence of war and violence, the prevalence of injustice and poverty, a certain widespread apathy about all these things, and the sheer volume of issues and needs, can feel like the storm in the gospel or like the winds, earthquake and fire in the first reading. Demands on our goodness, can rightly make us want to get away from it all, like Jesus who dismisses the crowd and goes off to pray. At the same time, somehow in the midst of all the storms, God can be experienced, we can even grow in our faith, and we can get into action to do something. We might even “walk on water” for a little while with God’s help.
Getting away from it all, can be a good thing. Jesus (in his prayer on the mountain) reminds us of the need we have to get away, connect with God, and take care of our spirits as we struggle to continue in our ministry and deal with the contemporary social situation. Rooted in real experience, reflection and prayer is critical. All men and women, especially those who are poor or struggling for justice, need time and resources to take care of themselves and to nurture their life and solidarity with God and others. Every person is a being worthy of dignity, respect, and even leisure.
Elijah (in his prayer on the mountain) reminds us that our faith is not to be based on religious excitement or fireworks. We don’t need the spectacular to find God. Getting fixated on special external religious phenomena can keep us from finding God. Real faith is a much different thing. Real faith is something more than a “spiritual high.” It is involved with the issues of the world. It involves humble service and solidarity with those in need and even sometimes, as in the second reading, feeling “great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart.” Such solidarity can be empowering for us and for all those we are with. Then, we might experience anew, the God in the “tiny whispering sound.”
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
What world or local political or social problems challenge you and your faith?
How do you deal with the demands and challenges?
When have you had a significant experience of God?
How did it affect the way you live and treat others?
How have you experienced the recent political discourse over the debt ceiling?
How did this “storm” challenge you and your vision or faith?
Actions - Links
August 6 and August 9 are the anniversaries of the dropping of the first atomic bombs used in combat.
- Get updates of national and international events related to nuclear weapons and proliferation issues from the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) at the nuclear calendar found at http://www2.fcnl.org/NuclearCalendar/index.php or check out the following calendar of events from the Physicians for Social Responsibility website at http://www.sharedevents.org/events
- On July 1, in Kansas City, MO, Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, Apostolic Nuncio to the United Nations declared "Viewed from a legal, political, security and most of all - moral - perspective, there is no justification today for the continued maintenance of nuclear weapons." This info is from Pax Christi USA at http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs090/1011223557022/archive/1106571874218.html The entire speech can be read at http://ncronline.org/news/peace/text-archbishop-francis-chullikat%E2%80%99s-speech-nuclear-disarmament
“As you all are aware, new attention is being paid to the unresolved problem of 20,000 nuclear weapons located at 111 sites in 14 countries. More than half the population of the world lives in a nuclear-armed country. Each year, nations spend $100 billion on maintaining and modernizing their nuclear arsenals.” ~from the recent speech of Archbishop Chullikatt referred to above.
“HOW RICH ARE YOU? Every year we gaze enviously at the lists of the richest people in world.
Wondering what it would be like to have that sort of cash. But where would you sit on one of those lists? Here's your chance to find out.” ~ http://globalrichlist.com/
You can find an interesting “peace parable” at this site:
You might find is applicable to many of our desires for justice and peace.
Prayers of Intercession
Response: Let us not be afraid. Let us be strengthened by God. Let us build a world of justice for all.
For those who discouraged by the politics of the day, we pray….
For those who confused by the complexity of our economic situation, we pray….
For those who are suffering from loss of employment or a declining income, we pray….
For those who have lost homes or are in danger of losing their homes, we pray….
For those caught up in war and violent situations of all sorts, we pray…..
For the nations that continue to spend billions on weapons and even nuclear weapons, we pray….
For those killed in the terrorism in Norway, we pray….
For those who enjoy a wealth of material things, we pray…..
For those who find themselves apathetic about the needs of others, we pray…
Prayer for Peace
Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.
Jewish source: The Tanakh, Micah 4:2-5 from jewishvirtuallibrary.org
St. Theresa on Christ Today
Christ has no body now but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ’s compassion must look out on the world.
Yours are the feet with which
He is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands with which
He is to bless us now.
~ attributed to Theresa of Avila