Engaging Faith | Mon, Jan 9, 2012
The weekly lectionary reflections
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time [b]
January 15, 2011
1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19
1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20
January 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday in the U.S
January 18-25: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
January 21-22: National Prayer Vigil for Life
The social message of the Gospel must not be considered a theory but a basis and a motivation for action.
Pope John Paul II
Solidarity is learned through "contact" rather than through "concepts", and should permeate the sphere of being before that of acting.
Pope John Paul II, May 5, 2000
Now is the time for a new "creativity" in charity, not only by ensuring that help is effective but also by "getting close" to those who suffer, so that the hand that helps is seen not as a humiliating handout but as a sharing between brothers and sisters.
Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus
In the days ahead we must not consider it unpatriotic to raise certain basic questions about our national character. We must begin to ask, 'Why are there forty million poor people in a nation overflowing with such unbelievable affluence? Why has our nation placed itself in the position of being God's military agent on earth...? Why have we substituted the arrogant undertaking of policing the whole world for the high task of putting our own house in order?'"
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
Thoughts for your consideration
God keeps calling until Samuel hears.
Samuel finally begins to hear God with the guidance and help of Eli.
It takes a while.
As is true in every age, God keeps calling to us again and again.
Sometimes it takes us a while to hear God’s word.
God calls to us in the needs of the poor, in the distorted values in our economic systems, in the violence inflicted on people caught up in war, in the injustices embedded our political systems, in the abuse of our environment, and in countless experiences each day. Sometimes it takes us quite a few times before we hear the call. We need guidance and help to see and hear. We need community to begin to respond to the call.
The disciples in the gospel are looking for something.
John the Baptist points to Jesus.
The disciples begin to stay with Jesus and listen to the call.
With the help and vision of Jesus they begin to see everything anew.
Today we too are looking for something.
We are looking for values that we can live by, for help with the economic and political problems of the day, for an end to war and conflict, for justice and peace, for a government that will work well and promote the common good. We need guidance and help to find what we seek. We need to help one another and we need God’s spirit to see the truth and act together.
If a person is to put Catholic Social Teaching into practice, he or she must be connected to the realities of human life and experience. One must be open and listen in order to hear the call of God. As men and women of the modern world, if we are to hear God’s call, we must listen to the events of life and listen to the stories of real people, especially those who are poor or oppressed. We need some direct experience with those in need. Otherwise, our faith or our commitment will be an abstract thing without power or an ineffective ideology. As Catholic Christians we inform our ethical values and our life choices by both looking back on our tradition and also looking around at the world that is ours. Exposure to those who are different than ourselves can help us break out of our limited perspective and understand the call of God.
The call of God is a call to be engaged in the struggles and issues of the world. The call of God is not only a call to go to church on Sunday, or profess certain dogmas or beliefs, or to live up to the standards of personal morality. It is a call to engage in the social and political issues of our time. It is a call to ask questions and search for answers. It is a call to be part of the worldwide human community. It is a call to create structures of justice and peace in the world. God calls us into healthy relationship with the world and all its people and all its creatures.
At this critical time in history, we pray that we will work together to heal the problems we have inherited and to create a world community that will include all people in the possibilities that are set before us.
A man traversed land and sea to check for himself the Master's extraordinary fame.
"What miracles has your Master worked?" he said to a disciple.
"Well, there are miracles and miracles. In your land it is regarded as a miracle if God does someone's will. In our country it is regarded as a miracle if someone does the will of God."
© Anthony de Mello, SJ http://lazarus.trinityjanesville.org/demello.htm
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
When have you experienced a call from God?
When and how did this call involve a concern for peace and justice in our world?
What call do you hear for our nation at this time in history?
What Christian values must we focus on as a nation?
Actions – Links
Ø Christians around the world celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity together from January 18 to 25. For more info go to: http://www.oikoumene.org/programmes/unity-mission-evangelism-and-spirituality/spirituality-and-worship/week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity.html
Ø The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday: Many cities and places in the US have ecumenical and interfaith services to remember Dr. King and his vision of and work for justice and peace in our nation and world. Participation in such events can help us renew our vision and commitment to social justice and help us to network with others who are seeking the same things. Info about Dr. King and efforts to keep his vision alive can be found at the web site of the King Center in Atlanta: http://www.thekingcenter.org. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research Institute at Stanford University “provides an institutional home for a broad range of activities illuminating the Nobel Peace laureate’s life and the movements he inspired.” Their site is at: http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu . At the site you will find curriculum resources for teaching about Dr. King and even recordings of some of his speeches.
Ø National Prayer Vigil for Life, Jan. 22-23, 2012: Info can be found at the web site of the Bishops’ Conference at http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/resources/index.cfm
Ø Poverty USA is an initiative of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. CCHD is the domestic anti-poverty program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, working to break the cycle of poverty by helping people help themselves. Check out their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/povertyusa
The latest US Census Bureau Poverty report came out in September, 2011 and can be found at:
The summary can be found at:
- The nation's official poverty rate in 2010 was 15.1 percent, up from 14.3 percent in 2009 ─ the third consecutive annual increase in the poverty rate. There were 46.2 million people in poverty in 2010, up from 43.6 million in 2009 ─ the fourth consecutive annual increase and the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been published.
- The number of people without health insurance coverage rose from 49.0 million in 2009 to 49.9 million in 2010.
- Since 2007, the year before the most recent recession, real median household income has declined 6.4 percent and is 7.1 percent below the median household income peak that occurred prior to the 2001 recession in 1999.
- Doubled-up households are defined as households that include at least one "additional" adult: a person 18 or older who is not enrolled in school and is not the householder, spouse or cohabiting partner of the householder. In spring 2007, prior to the recession, doubled-up households totaled 19.7 million. By spring 2011, the number of doubled-up households had increased by 2.0 million to 21.8 million and the percent rose by 1.3 percentage points from 17.0 percent to 18.3 percent.
Prayers of Intercession
Response: Lord, guide us and our nation on the path to justice.
For all who are suffering from poverty, unemployment and homelessness, we pray….
For all our public officials that they may work together for the good of all, especially the poor, we pray…..
For help to all who are hurting because of the worldwide recession, we pray…..
For an end to the fighting and violence in and around Afghanistan, we pray….
For the people of Gaza, Israel, the West Bank, and all those caught up in the fighting in Palestine, that they may find a way to peace, we pray…..
For justice and peace in all the troubled parts of the world, we pray …..
For continued efforts to make real in our day the nonviolent vision of justice and peace which was preached by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we pray….
For a deeper respect for human life from conception to natural death, we pray….
For a commitment to the health and care of our planet and its resources, we pray….
For a deeper and richer unity between all the Christian churches, that we may live more fully the radical loving visions of Jesus, we pray…..
Prayer for Martin Luther King’s Birthday
[Attributed to J-Glenn Murray, SJ]
O Guardian of Israel, our shelter and shade,
Stir up in us that flame of justice
That Jesus incited on this earth,
That rages in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
O arouse in us that very flame of righteousness
That enticed Martin to be a living sacrifice of praise,
To seek freedom for all God’s children.
O to you, God ever faithful and true,
Be glory forever and ever.
The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia have made available a prayer service for the King Holiday. It can be found at http://www.osfphila.org/prayers/service_kingjr
Other prayer resources can be found at