Engaging Faith | Tue, Sep 25, 2012
Lectionary reflections for the twenty-sixth Sunday of ordinary time - 30 September 2012.
Twenty-sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]
September 30, 2012
Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
October 1-7: Jewish celebration of Sukkot
October 1: International Day for the Elderly
October 1: World Habitat Day http://www.unhabitat.org/categories.asp?catid=700
October 3: In the U.S.: the first presidential debate
October 4: Feast of St. Francis of Assisi
God reveals himself to us as one who is not alone, but rather as one who is relational, one who is Trinity. Therefore, we who are made in God's image share this communal, social nature. We are called to reach out and to build relationships of love and justice. … The Church's social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society. It offers moral principles and coherent values that are badly needed in our time. In this time of widespread violence and diminished respect for human life and dignity in our country and around the world, the Gospel of life and the biblical call to justice need to be proclaimed and shared with new clarity, urgency, and energy. … Sharing our social tradition more fully and clearly is an essential way to bring good news, liberty, and new sight to a society and world in desperate need of God's justice and peace.
-- USCCB, Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions
Lowering the level of protection accorded to the rights of workers, or abandoning mechanisms of wealth redistribution in order to increase the country's international competitiveness, hinder the achievement of lasting development.
-- Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 32
God gave man intelligence, sensitivity and the power of thought—tools with which to finish and perfect the work He began. Every worker is, to some extent, a creator—be he artist, craftsman, executive, laborer or farmer.
-- Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 27
Among the most important duties of employers, the principal one is to give all workers what is justly due them. … the rich and employers must remember that no laws, either human or divine, permit them for their own profit to oppress the needy and the wretched or to seek gain from another’s want. To defraud anyone of the wage due him/ her is a great crime that calls down avenging wrath from Heaven: Behold, the wages of the laborers . . . which have been kept back by you unjustly, cry out: and their cry has entered into the ears of the Lord of Hosts (Jas 5:4).
-- Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum, #20
Thoughts for your consideration
In the first reading from the book of Numbers, we see the seventy call into question the ministry of Eldad and Medad, even though Eldad and Medad clearly have been gifted by the spirit. Moses supports the work of Eldad and Medad and wishes that everyone was so filled with the spirit.
We must no forget that often times the work of God’s spirit is manifested in those who do not fit our categories. This story (along with the gospel) reminds us that God’s spirit is not bound by our categories.
We are called to respect the gifts of the spirit among all men and women in our church & world. It is a matter of justice. Racism and other discriminations are sins. We must not limit the spirit and the work of God to people of a certain gender, race, nation, ethnic group, age, orientation, or other characteristic.
The letter of James is not afraid to address issues of social injustice.
The rich are chastised for oppressing their workers. Our social teaching is clear. All workers desire a living wage. Sweatshop conditions, wages that are insufficient to support a family, lack of affordable health care, extreme income and asset inequality, and the like are not consistent with our social teaching.
James also reminds the rich of the limited value of all material wealth. “Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you.” Our social teaching is clear. We are in trouble if we get our value from our material possessions alone. As Christians in the developed world, we certainly are challenged to reflect on our very affluent society and the consumer values which dominate our culture.
The gospel addresses issues of solidarity, one of the central values of Catholic Social Teaching. The disciples are told to respect all those who do the work of Christ. We are all one in ways that transcend our various superficial differences and groupings. We are called to respect the presence of God in the gifts of all people.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
Have you ever seen others do good things and think badly of them or resent them?
Have you ever complained about others even though they are doing something good?
The letter of James addresses the needs of workers for decent wages.
In justice, what other basic benefits are workers entitled to?
Does this say anything to us as our nation debates how to reform healthcare?
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. Cofounded by Bono and other campaigners, ONE is nonpartisan and works closely with African activists and policy makers.” http://www.one.org . They have action suggestions for World Food Day which is October 16.
“Shot@Life educates, connects and empowers Americans to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries. A national call to action for a global cause, the campaign rallies the American public, members of Congress, and civil society partners around the fact that together, we can save a child’s life every 20 seconds by expanding access to vaccines. By encouraging Americans to learn about, advocate for, and donate to vaccines, Shot@Life aims to decrease vaccine-preventable childhood deaths and give every child a shot at a healthy life.” http://shotatlife.org/
October 4 is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi .Francis is considered a patron of animals and the environment. “For faithful climate action supported by the US Catholic Bishops, take the St. Francis Pledge at” http://catholicclimatecovenant.org .
You may want to check out these web sites:
http://www.franciscanaction.org/ and http://www.franciscansforjustice.org/
Income Inequality in the United States according to the recent Census Bureau report:
Based on the Gini index, income inequality increased by 1.6 percent between 2010 and 2011; this represents the first time the Gini index has shown an annual increase since 1993, the earliest year available for comparable measures of income inequality. The Gini index was 0.477 in 2011. (The Gini index is a measure of household income inequality; zero represents perfect income equality and 1 perfect inequality.)
Income inequality also increased between 2010 and 2011 when measured by shares of aggregate household income received by quintiles. The aggregate share of income declined for the middle and fourth quintiles. The share of aggregate income increased 1.6 percent for the highest quintile and within the highest quintile, the share of aggregate income for the top 5 percent increased 4.9 percent. The changes in the shares of aggregate income for the lowest two quintiles were not statistically significant.
Prayers of Intercession
Response: Almighty God, may the whole world enjoy your justice and peace.
For all women and men in our world who continue to work for what is right and good in our world, may their efforts be supported, we pray….
For all people whose gifts and talents are still not welcomed and respected by our institutions, leaders, ourselves, and even our church, we pray….
For all those who offer employment to others, may they treat their workers with a living wage, just benefits and healthy respect, we pray…..
For all our leaders, that they may help us let go of personal and collective selfishness, jealousy and ambition, so that we can work together for a better world, we pray…..
For an end to all the violence, war and terrorism, that continues to play out in our world, we pray….
For our nation that God will help us discern a way to work together for justice and peace for all, we pray….
Prayer - Meditation
Prayer Of The Farm Workers’ Struggle
Show me the suffering of the most miserable;
so I will know my people’s plight.
Free me to pray for others;
For you are present in every person.
Help me take responsibility for my own life;
So that I can be free at last.
Grant me courage to serve others;
For in service there is true life.
Give me honesty and patience;
So that I can work with other workers.
Bring forth song and celebration;
So that the Spirit will be alive among us.
Let the Spirit flourish and grow;
So that we will never tire of the struggle.
Let us remember those who have died for justice;
For they have given us life.
Help us love even those who hate us;
So we can change the world.
-- Written by Cesar E. Chavez, UFW Founder (1927-1993)