32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time [a]

Engaging Faith | Tue, Nov 1, 2011

By John Bucki, S.J.
Source: Center of Concern

This Sunday's lectionary readings and reflections

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time [a]
 November 6, 2011

Wisdom 6:12-16
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 or 4:13-14
Matthew 25:1-13

November 6: Daylight Savings Time ends in the U.S.
November 8: Election Day in many places in the USA
November 11: Veterans Day in the USA, Remembrance Day in Canada


At the center of all Catholic social teaching are the transcendence of God and the dignity of the human person. The human person is the clearest reflection of God's presence in the world; all of the Church's work in pursuit of both justice and peace is designed to protect and promote the dignity of every person. For each person not only reflects God, but is the expression of God's creative work and the meaning of Christ's redemptive ministry.
U.S. Catholic Bishops, The Challenge of Peace, #15

In the Hebrew Scriptures ruah’s activities include creating new life, working to sustain it in myriad ways, renewing what has been damaged, grieving over destruction, teaching people to be wise, and inspiring critique and enthusiasm, all of which have engaged the energies of generation after generation of women.
Elizabeth Johnson CSJ, She Who Is, 83

The Synod Fathers stated: "As an expression of her mission the Church must stand firmly against all forms of discrimination and abuse of women"(178). And again: "The dignity of women, gravely wounded in public esteem, must be restored through effective respect for the rights of the human person and by putting the teaching of the Church into practice."
Pope John Paul II, Christifideles Laici, 49

Flagrant inequalities exist in the economic, cultural and political development of the nations: while some regions are heavily industrialized, others are still at the agricultural stage; while some countries enjoy prosperity, others are struggling against starvation; while some peoples have a high standard of culture, others are still engaged in eliminating illiteracy. From all sides there rises a yearning for more justice and a desire for a better guaranteed peace in mutual respect among individuals and peoples.
Pope Paul VI, Octogesima Adveniens, 2

Thoughts for your consideration

The first reading refers to God as wisdom and thus gives us a feminine word or image to talk about the divine.  As we broaden our understanding of what God is all about, we expand our vision of what is important and valuable in the world.  We come to see that all people, men and women, rich and poor, young and old, reflect the dignity of God and are made in the image and likeness of God.  Divine wisdom challenges and inspires us to work for the human rights and dignity of all – especially those who have sometimes been placed on the margins by our cultures – the poor, children, women, minorities, immigrants, etc.

Today’s gospel parable reminds us not to just wait around doing nothing. If we want to enjoy the life God has given us and grow in the goodness of God, we should get into action and be ready. “We should have our lamps filled with oil.”

Our lamps are ready when we wake up from sleep and engage in the problems of our world and its people, interact with people in need, dialogue on the important issues of the world, and get into action. 

Our lamps are ready when we broaden our understanding and are willing see the world as God sees the world -- when we come to see that all people, men and women reflect the dignity of God and are made in the image and likeness of God.  Our lamps are ready when we put this vision in practice.

Our lamps are ready when we engage in the study and learning that will help us analyze the world well and contribute to the world of renewal and justice for all.

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
In what ways do you find people in our culture asleep or inattentive to the important issues of the day? 
In what ways do you find yourself asleep and inattentive to the realities of the world?
In what ways do you find yourself awake and attentive to the realities of the world?

Story (from the Attar of Nishapur in the Sufi tradition)
The Beloved
One went to the door of the Beloved and knocked.
A voice asked: 'Who is there?' He answered: 'It is I.'
The voice said: 'There is no room here for me and thee.'
The door was shut.
After a year of solitude and deprivation
this man returned to the door of the Beloved.
He knocked.
A voice from within asked: 'Who is there?'
The man said: 'It is Thou.'
The door was opened for him.
Rumi (Shah 207)
Actions - Links

Vatican document calls for global authority to regulate markets
Read the document at:
Every individual and every community shares in and is responsible for promoting the common good. Faithful to their ethical and religious vocation, communities of believers should take the lead in asking whether human family has adequate means at its disposal to achieve the global common good.

“Crazy Facts”

The following is from The Stanford Center for Study of Poverty and Inequality at
The facts are simple...
    Income inequality is extreme and increasing: The top 1% of Americans control nearly a quarter of all the country's income, the highest share controlled by the top 1% since 1928.
    The U.S. is exceptionally unequal: The U.S. ranks #3 among all the advanced economies in the amount of income inequality.
    The poverty rate is high: The U.S. poverty rate, according to the new Supplemental Poverty Measure, is estimated at 15.7 percent. The official poverty rate stands at 15.1 percent. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that 14.5 percent of all households were "food insecure" in 2010 (which means that at least some household members didn't have access to enough food for an "active, healthy life").
    The unemployment rate is high: The U.S. unemployment rate for August is 9.1 percent. The employment-to-population ratio, which was 58.2 percent in August, is over 5 percentage points lower than just five years ago.

Find 20 Facts About U.S. Inequality that Everyone Should Know at

Prayers of Intercession

Response: Help us to be ready to see everything in a new way and to act for what is right.
For the economically poor of our planet, we pray…..
For the rich and wealthy of our planet, we pray….
For the workers of the world, especially those without a living wage, we pray…..
For the consumers of the world, especially those who consume too much, we pray….
For the leaders of our governments, our civil organizations, and our religious groups, we pray….
For people who are challenging our governments and institutions, we pray…..
For those running for office this week and for those who will be voting, we pray….

Prayer - Meditation

Various local elections in the US take place this Tuesday. The following “Prayer at Election Time” is from the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Prayer at Election Time

Loving and gracious God, we remember that your plan for us is fullness of life lived with love, justice and mercy.

Be with us and our whole nation this year as we work together in selecting political leaders at all levels of our society. Help us keep the common good before us.

Strengthen our gifts of wisdom, courage and respect for the views of others.

Deepen in us the willingness to act in solidarity with people who are economically poor and with women seeking fullness of life in society.

Help us be persistent in testing political remedies against what they will do for people, to people, with people, and what they will mean for the health of our earth home.

Help us to support one another in exercising our precious responsibilities as citizens in a representative democracy.

After the elections, strengthen us to continue to work with our leaders, seeking an ever more just society that acts in harmony and interdependence with all creation.

We ask this in the name of Jesus in union with Your Spirit. Amen.

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