Engaging Faith | Tue, Oct 2, 2012
Lectionary reflections for the twenty-seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time - 7 October 2012.
Twenty-seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]
October 7, 2012
Mark 10:2-16 or 10:2-12
October 5: World Teacher’s Day
October 7: Right to Life Sunday
October 8: Columbus Day observed in the United States
October 8: Thanksgiving Day in Canada
The first and fundamental structure for a "human ecology" is the family, founded on marriage, in which the mutual gift of self as husband and wife creates an environment in which children can be born and grow up.
-- John Paul II, The Hundredth Year #49
Today no one can be unaware of the fact that on some continents countless men and women are ravished by hunger and countless children are undernourished. Many children die at an early age; many more of them find their physical and mental growth retarded. … The moment for action has reached a critical juncture. Can countless innocent children be saved? Can countless destitute families obtain more human living conditions? Can world peace and human civilization be preserved intact?
-- Paul VI, Populorum Progressio
Being out of work or dependent on public or private assistance for a prolonged period undermines the freedom and creativity of the person and his family and social relationships, causing great psychological and spiritual suffering.
-- Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 25
The reality of the Church as Communion is, then, the integrating aspect, indeed the central content of the "mystery", or rather, the divine plan for the salvation of humanity.
-- John Paul II, Christifideles Laici
To overcome today's individualistic mentality, a concrete commitment to solidarity and charity is needed, beginning in the family.
-- John Paul II, The Hundredth Year #49
Thoughts for your consideration
Imbedded in today’s readings are a number of values that are important in Catholic Social Teaching:
- the dignity of the human person [Jesus condemns the practice of writing a bill of divorce and just dismissing a wife. Jesus welcomes and respects the children.]
- the special care we need to have for children [“For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”]
- the value of relationships [“It is not good for the man to be alone.”]
- the importance of commitment
- the importance of caring for the earth and its ecology in a responsible way. [The human person is even given the power to name each of the earth’s creatures.]
Relationship and solidarity are central Christian values. These values are manifest in everyday interpersonal values – as in the loving relationship of two individuals in a marriage – and also in the social and economic values that bind us together as nations and the world community.
Marriage is a deep commitment of two people to one another. In the same way, the Social Teaching of the church reflects a commitment of the church and its members to one another and to the promotion of justice in the world. A married couple is not concerned only with their own private relationship but also with the bigger world in which we all live. In the same way, Catholic Social Teaching is an expansive commitment.
A marriage is celebrated and lived out in the context of a bigger story. The bigger story is the biblical story of liberation and freedom. Marriage should be a source of freedom and joy. If marriage is seen in light of all the work of God in the world then the couple can see more clearly their vocation in that world. A spirit of freedom and service will then follow.
Elsewhere, the scriptures compare the loving relationship between a husband and a wife with the relationship between Christ and the church. A desire for domination over another is replaced with the desire for loving mutuality. A good marriage models a spirit of respect, understanding, peace and active non-violence.
As we read the creation story today, we are reminded of our commitment to care for the creation that God has given us. Pope Benedict in Caritas in Veritate wrote: “The environment is God's gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole.”
In the longer form of the gospel, Jesus places a child in the midst of the group. It is very fitting to reflect on the various justice issues that affect the children of our world, especially those which relate to war and violence. One in three American children will be poor at some point in their childhood. Most of the people in the world who live in poverty are children. So many children do not have the opportunity for a quality education.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
What is the most important relationship in your life?
How does this relationship help you to live out the social values of the gospel?
A tale from Attar of Neishapur from Anthony DeMello’s Song of the Bird.
The lover knocked of his Beloved’s door.
“Who knocks?” said the Beloved from within.
“It is I,” said the lover.
“Go away. This house will not hold you and me.”
The lover withdrew and pondered for years on the words the Beloved had said. Then
he returned and knocked again.
“It is you.”
The door was immediately opened.
Actions - Links
Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage
Read: “A Statement from the Jesuit Conference of the United States: Response to U.S. Census Bureau Report on Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage” at
Poor and Hungry Children
“Marian Wright Edelman is President of the Children's Defense Fund whose Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities” For more information go to www.childrensdefense.org. Read her column on the Ryanomics Assault on Poor and Hungry Children at http://cdf.childrensdefense.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=29421.0&dlv_id=...
Take action online at:
The following facts are from:
Occupy Wall Street One Year Later: Ten Key Charts About Inequality
- America’s 1 percent have 288 times as much wealth as the median household. This constitutes a huge increase from 1962, when the ratio was 125-1.
- According to Prof. Alan Krueger, Chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, “the shift in income inequality over the last three decades is the equivalent of moving $1.1 trillion of income from the 99 percent to the top 1 percent every single year.”
- CEO pay increased 127 times faster than worker pay over the last 30 years.
- Corporate profits have skyrocketed over the last three years. Both after-tax profits and corporate profits as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) are higher than they were in the middle of the last decade.
Prayers of Intercession
Response: God, bring us together in peace.
For all who live together in committed relationships, may their mutual love find support from the community and in turn be a source of support and hope to the community, we pray…
For all our children, that they may be gifted with the love, respect, education, shelter, and nourishment so that they can grow into their full statue as loving people of God, we pray…
For all the nations and groups of our world, that we will learn to have healthy peaceful relationships with one another, we pray….
For all the creatures of our world, as we name them may we also learn to treat them with care and respect, we pray…
For a renewed commitment to make changes in the way we live so as stop our destruction of the earth and decrease our carbon footprint, we pray…..
For the wisdom and courage we need to make changes to how we live, so that we will not destroy the earth we have been given but treasure it with wonder and joy, we pray….
For wisdom and perspective as we prepare for the upcoming elections in the United States, we pray….
Prayer - Meditation
Two prayers from the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Gainsville
Increase, O God, the spirit of neighborliness among all who dwell on earth, that in peril we may uphold one another, in suffering tend one another, and in loneliness befriend one another. Grant us brave and enduring hearts that we may be strengthened, until the strife of these days be ended and you give peace in our time; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Adapted from To Will One Thing, by William Scarlett, 1994, Forward Movement Publications)
O Thou protector of the universe, ruler of its destiny, abode of happiness and peace, ocean of mercy, friend of the poor, destroyer of the pangs of want, everlasting, whole, unending, beginningless, perfect, ancient of days, refuge of thy people, beloved of the heart, and guardian and mainstay of life, grant us peace in our time. Amen.
(From Book of Prayers, by M. K. Gandhi, 1999, Berkeley Hills Books)
A Prayer of St Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is discord, vision.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.