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Thirty-first Sunday of Ordinary Time

Engaging Faith | Tue, Oct 30, 2012

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

Lectionary reflections for the thirty-first Sunday in ordinary time - 4 November 2012.

Thirtieth-first Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]

November 4, 2012


Readings

Deuteronomy 6:2-6
Hebrews 7:23-28
Mark 12:28b-34

Calendar

November 4: Daylight Savings Time ends in most places in the United States
November 6: Election Day in the United States
November 9-10: Kristallnacht, start of the Holocaust in 1938

Quotes

According to the Christian message, therefore, our relationship to our neighbor is bound up with our relationship to God; our response to the love of God, saving us through Christ, is shown to be effective in his love and service of people. Christian love of neighbor and justice cannot be separated. For love implies an absolute demand for justice, namely a recognition of the dignity and rights of one's neighbor.
-- 1971 Bishops’ Synod, Justice in the World, #34

For unless the Christian message of love and justice shows its effectiveness through action in the cause of justice in the world, it will only with difficulty gain credibility with the people of our times.
-- 1971 Bishops’ Synod, Justice in the World, #35

It is imperative that no one, out of indifference to the course of events or because of inertia, would indulge in a merely individualistic morality. The best way to fulfill one's obligations of justice and love is to contribute to the common good according to one's means and the needs of others, and also to promote and help public and private organizations devoted to bettering the conditions of life. 
-- Vatican II, The Church in the Modern World, #30

Mindful of the words of the Lord: "By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another"(Jn. 13:35), Christians can yearn for, nothing more ardently than to serve the people of this age successfully with increasing generosity. Holding loyally to the Gospel, enriched by its resources, and joining forces with all who love and practice justice, they have shouldered a weighty task here on earth and they must render an account of it to him who will judge all people on the last day.
-- Vatican II, The Church in the Modern World, #93

 

Thoughts for your consideration

Catholic Social teaching flows from the vision of today’s gospel. 
The love of God and the love of neighbor are intimately connected. 
We cannot have one without the other.

Service of others is rooted in a deep religious faith and a relationship with God.

Service of others must also include working for social change – for addressing the causes of injustice.

Any deep love of God must be manifested in service of others and the promotion of justice.

When the Catholic faith is most alive, all of these things are coming together holistically.  The Christian is nourished by a relationship to God that is strengthened and challenged in community (church).  The Christian lives out a deep love for others especially those most in need.  The Christian and Christian community learns and grows from contact with and service to those in need. In solidarity with others the Christian speaks up for justice and works for those changes that would create the justice society. The living commitment to service and justice helps us find God ever more deeply.

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

When have you witnessed someone practicing a profound love of neighbor?
When have you witnessed someone speaking up for justice for his or her neighbor?

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Love of God and love of neighbor: How does this vision influence your decisions this election day?


Story

Once there was a traveling Buddhist monk who, as was the custom, lived by begging.  He was greatly inspired to holiness by the Buddhist scriptures and noted that most poor people had no access to the scriptures that so inspired his life.  He resolved to print an edition of the scriptures to distribute to the poor.

For ten years as he traveled from city to city, from town to town, from village to village, and he collected small amounts of money.  When he finally had enough money to print the scriptures, there was a famine in the land and the price of basic food was very high.  He gave the money he had collected to the poor so that they might buy food.

He still desired to print the scriptures, so he continued to travel from city to city, from town to town, from village to village, and collected small amounts of money.  Now after fifteen more years he once again had the money he needed to print the scriptures.  However, there was an earthquake in the land and the homes of many poor people collapsed.  He gave them the money so that they might rebuild their homes.

He still desired to print the scriptures, so he continued to travel from city to city, from town to town, from village to village, and collected small amounts of money.  Now after twenty more years he once again had the money he needed to print the scriptures.  He was now a very old man and near the end of his life.  He gave a friend the money so that he could go out and print the scriptures and distribute them to the poor. 

As he lay in a bed near death, his friend returned to show him a copy of this edition of the scriptures and report on how happy the people were to receive the scriptures that had inspired his holy life.  The friend told that monk that it was a most beautiful edition of the scriptures.  The monk held the book in his hands and after a few moments said:  “Yes. This is indeed a most beautiful edition of the scriptures, but, you know, the first two editions were the best.”

 

Actions - Links

Election Guidance:



Crazy Facts
 
The Children’s Defense Fund tells us: “Today, 16.4 million children in America, more than 1 in 5, are poor, the majority living in working families. The burden of poverty falls disproportionately on minority children, with 1 in 3 Black and Latino children affected compared to more than 1 in 10 White children.”  http://www.childrensdefense.org/policy-priorities/

“Today, approximately 48 percent of all Americans are currently either considered to be "low income" or are living in poverty”. Read more: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-04-17/news/31354389_1_middle-cl...


Prayers of Intercession

Response: God, help us put our faith into action.

For our church that we may deeply love God and deeply love our neighbor, we pray…

For our church that we may act to create justice in our world, we pray…

For wisdom in our nation as we vote in the upcoming elections, we pray…

For an end to all economic injustice in our land and everywhere, we pray…

For integrity and good values in the actions of our political leaders, we pray…

For an end to the war and fighting in Afghanistan, Syria, and other trouble lands, we pray…

For respect for life everywhere, we pray…

For respect for the common good of all, we pray…


Prayer - Meditation

The following election prayer is from the Mennonite Community:
http://carolpenner.typepad.com/leadinginworship/2009/11/election-prayer....

Almighty God, we need your presence in our land during this election time.
Guide the candidates to campaign fairly and present their viewpoints honestly.
Guide the voters as they listen and assess the positions of the different parties.

Jesus, you cared for those who were poor, physically challenged, social outcasts.
Empower us to hear and take into account the voices of the marginalized.
Empower all voters to turn out so that election results will be more truly democratic.

Holy Spirit, you enliven us as Christians to be salt and light in this world.
Increase in us conversation, vigilance and prayer about this election.
Increase in us wisdom and discernment as we elect our government. Amen.

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