Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time [b]

Engaging Faith | Mon, Jun 11, 2012

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Lectionary reflections for the Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time, June 17th, 2012 (Father's Day).

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time [b]

June 17, 2012


Ezekiel 17:22-24
2 Corinthians 5:6-10
Mark 4:26-34


June: World Refugee Awareness Month
June 17, Father’s Day in the USA
June 17, World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 
June 19: Juneteenth, African American Emancipation Day, a celebration of end of slavery in the US 
June 20, World Refugee Day


The Gospel is not merely a communication of things that can be known—it is one that makes things happen and is life-changing.
Pope Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi, 2

Life is like a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy, a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route. The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives. They are lights of hope. Certainly, Jesus Christ is the true light, the sun that has risen above all the shadows of history. But to reach him we also need lights close by—people who shine with his light and so guide us along our way.
Pope Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi, 49

People say, "What good can one person do? What is the sense of our small effort?" They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time. We can be responsible only for the one action of the present moment. But we can beg for an increase of love in our hearts that will vitalize and transform all our individual actions, and know that God will take them and multiply them, as Jesus multiplied the loaves and the fishes.
- Dorothy Day,  Loaves and Fishes

Whoever is on a journey towards God goes from one beginning to another beginning. Will you be among those who dare to tell themselves: "Begin again! Leave discouragement behind! Let your soul live!"
- Brother Roger of Taize

Thoughts for your consideration

The word of God calls us to have hope in challenging times.

The challenges are many.
* Economics: We live a world of massive economic inequality. We see this in our nation. We see this in places everywhere and especially in the developing world. Millions of people live on less than a $1.25 per day.  People (even children) do not have enough to eat and adequate health care and shelter.
* The great recession:  By some measures we have begun to recover.  By many measures things are still not right.  In the US over 8% of those who are looking for work cannot find it.  In the US even larger numbers of people are unemployed or underemployed.  The debt crisis in Europe is playing out in dramatic ways in nations like Greece and Spain and seems to be on verge of getting worse. Banks are being bailed out but not the people.
* Politics: In the US political discourse has never seemed to be so divisive. The Congress is divided along ideological lines and little seems to get done.
* War and Peace: The war continues to Afghanistan.  We seem to have no way to stop the bloodshed in Syria.  Trillions are spent on “defense” while human needs are not addressed.
* Church controversy: The ministry of women religious in the US: the acceptance of gay and lesbian Catholics in our church: the decline in church attendance; the controversies about our liturgical practices;
I am sure that you can list many more.
I am sure that you feel many more.

The word of God calls us to have hope in challenging times
* Ezekiel in the first reading uses the beautiful image of God planting the cedar tree.
* The psalmist tells us that “the just one will flourish like a palm tree …  they shall bear fruit even in old age …”
* Paul tells us that “we walk by faith, not by sight … we are courageous….”
* Jesus talks about the seed that sprouts and grows and produces a harvest, even though we do not know how it happens.
* Jesus talks about the tiny mustard seed that somehow becomes a great bush that can even be a home for the birds of the sky.

The vision of God is bigger than all our limited visions.  The call of God comes to us in the storm. We have faith in the vision and values of Jesus.  We have faith that these values will help us as we struggle with the challenges of our time. We have hope that there is we can discern God’s call in the midst of all the questions.  We pray to have love that will bring us together as a community and allow us to discover God in all things, in all people, and even in all questions.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

What experiences give you hope in our challenging times?
What people give you hope as we face injustices?


It was time for the monsoon rains to begin and a very old man was digging holes in his garden.
“What are you doing?” his neighbor asked.
“Planting mango trees,” was the reply.
“Do you expect to eat mangoes from those trees?”
“No, I won’t live long enough for that. But others will. It occurred to me the other day that all my life I have enjoyed mangoes planted by other people. This is my way of showing them my gratitude.”

Actions - Links

June: World Refugee Awareness Month

“The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is an international Catholic organization with a mission to accompany, serve and advocate on behalf of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. JRS undertakes services at national and regional levels with the support of an international office in Rome. Founded in November 1980 as a work of the Society of Jesus, JRS was officially registered on 19 March 2000 at the Vatican State as a foundation.”

In the United States, “The mission of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is to accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. “ .  You may take action on various issues at

NETWORK, the Catholic Social Justice Lobby, recently announced “a multi-state bus trip by Catholic Sisters highlighting the work Sisters do to meet the needs of people at the economic margins and revealing how federal budget cuts proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and passed by the House of Representatives will hurt struggling families in these states.” Get more info at 

“Crazy Facts”

“The latest edition of UNICEF's report on child poverty showed the United States ranks second out of 35 developed countries on the scale of what economists call “relative child poverty” with 23.1 percent of its children living in poverty. Only Romania ranked higher. It was another shameful reminder that, as economist Sheldon Danziger put it, “Among rich countries, the U.S. is exceptional. We are exceptional in our tolerance of poverty.””

Prayers of Intercession

Response:  May the reign of God finally come.
May we all be strengthen and challenged by the vision and values of Jesus.  We pray….
May all human beings be able to afford enough food to eat. We pray ….
May everyone have access to health care. We pray….
May all people live free from war and terrorism. We pray….
May all our children have access to a good education.  We pray….
May our governments all be honest, transparent and supportive of the common good.  We pray….
May all people work for an end of violence and a growth in community.  We pray….
May all people live in hope of a world renewed and transformed.  We pray….


The following prayer is from the web site of the Diocese of Syracuse NY:

Prayer for the Hungry of the World
Father, in your wisdom you have made us dependent on one another, and so we pray for the starving millions in our world. Give us true repentance for our greed and selfishness. Empower us to make amends as best we can. Help us to find the ways to share so that no one hungers at the table of life. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


A Prayer

Mother -- Father God:  Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.
 Let us hear again the challenge of the great prophets.
  Let us do what is right and love with enthusiasm.

Sophia – Wisdom: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.
 Help us to discern the way of peace.
  Help us to discern the way of right action.

God of heaven and earth: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.
 Let us hear again the stories of our ancestors in faith.
  Let us create new stories today – stories of faith in action.

God of peace and justice: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.
 Help us to listen to the world and the cries of those in need.
  Help us to respond in solidarity with all those in need.

Holy Spirit: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.
 Fill us with an enthusiasm and joy for what is right and good.
  Fill us with virtue that we might do what is good for all.


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