Engaging Faith | Tue, Jan 22, 2013
Lectionary reflections for the third Sunday of Ordinary Time: January 27, 2013
Third Sunday of Ordinary Time [c]
January 27, 2013
Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10
1 Corinthians 12:12-30 or 12:12-14, 27
Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21
January 27: International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust
January 27 - February 2: Catholic Schools Week
January 31: Feast of John Bosco, Patron of Youth & founder of the Salesians
February: African American History Month
February 2: Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas), also Groundhog Day
“The Christian response to the challenges of our times is to be found in the Good News of Jesus. The words that signaled the start of His public ministry must be the watchword for every Christian response to injustice, "He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written" The spirit of the Lord is upon me; therefore, he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners, to captives, recovery of favor from the Lord. Rolling up the scroll he gave it back ...and sat down...'Today this Scripture passage is fulfilling in your hearing'."
~ US Catholic Bishops, Brothers and Sisters are Us
"The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution that has to start with each one of us."
~ Dorothy Day
“We now need … to voice a strong call to correct the economic and social imbalances present in the world of work and to make decisive efforts to ensure that the processes of economic globalization give due attention to solidarity and the respect owed to every human person. … As the unequivocal words of the Gospel remind us, there is a special presence of Christ in the poor, and this requires the Church to make a preferential option for them. … We must reject the temptation to offer a privatized and individualistic spirituality which ill accords with the demands of charity, to say nothing of the implications of the Incarnation and, in the last analysis, of Christianity's eschatological tension.”
~ Apostolic Letter ‘Novo Millennio Ineunte” of John Paul II
Jesus revealed the capacity to affirm your own tradition, and at the same time, to reach out to those of other traditions. … Be careful living with nationalistic narrowness, because that does not discern the broadness of the heart of God.
~ Rev. James Forbes Jr, Riverside Church, New York City
The bread that you possess belongs to the hungry. The clothes that you store in boxes, belong to the naked. The shoes rotting by you, belong to the bare-foot. The money that you hide belongs to anyone in need.
~ Saint Basil, fourth century theologian and monastic
Thoughts for your consideration
The gospel today is one of the passages which supports most explicitly and dramatically our Catholic social teachings and the vision of Jesus as one committed to liberation for all people.
Today we hear Jesus use the powerful words of Isaiah to make clear the nature of his ministry. Jesus makes clear that he is concerned with justice. He wants to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year of Jubilee.
The message of Jesus is good news because it is a message of freedom and liberation, especially for those who are poor or in any way “imprisoned.” Two aspects of the program of Jesus seem important to remember:
1. It is good news. The prophet Nehemiah writes: “Do not be sad, and do not weep." The word today is about freedom and liberation. It is a vision to get excited about and to share. Jesus’ vision of justice and liberation does not have to be a painful guilt trip or only a heavy or impossible obligation. It should be seen as freedom and liberation and joy for ourselves and the whole world community. It is something worth sharing. It is something that the world needs and longs for.
2. It is a radical call to liberation and freedom. It is a revolutionary call and not a call to private piety or simple good deed doing. It is grounded in the Exodus experience – empowering slaves to claim their freedom and walk out of Egypt. For the poor it may be a freedom from poverty; for the rich it might mean a letting go of the burden of too many possessions; for those who are living life in fear, it might mean letting go of fear; for those who are in an abusive marriage, it might be taking action to get out of the abusive situation; for a nation at war, it might be a commitment to let go of solving problems by military power and working cooperatively in a spirit of nonviolence; for a nation with unjust social structures, it might be legal changes to the system; for a international community filled with violence, it might be non-violent resolution of conflicts; for a world without respect for human rights, it might mean a international legal system that protects the human rights of all men and women.
“As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.” The second reading from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, reminds us that we are one. When one person is hurting, we are all hurting. When one person is in need we are all in need. We might think of the families of those killed in Newtown or the 100’s killed by guns in the US since that day in December. As one body, we all share in their suffering. We share in the grief of all those who have had loved ones die, of those whose loved ones have been injured, of those who have died in wars and acts of violence, of those killed in the recent attacks in Algeria or in the ongoing fighting in Syria, of those killed in drone attacks.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
Does the word of Jesus feel like good news of great joy?
What freedom would be a joyful liberation for you and for your community?
What would the world be like if the liberation that Jesus talks about became more real today?
From Anthony DeMello SJ, The Prayer of the Frog, Part II,
A disciple came up to his Master and said, “I am a wealthy man and have just come into a large fortune. How best can I use it so it will redound to my spiritual benefit?”
Said the Master, “Come back after a week and I shall give you an answer.”
When he returned, the Master said with a sigh, “I am at a loss what to say to you. If I tell you to give it to your friends and relatives, it will do you no spiritual good. If I tell you to give it to the temple, you will only feed the avarice of the priests. And if I tell you to give it to the poor, you will take pride in your charity and fall into the sin of self-righteousness.”
Since the disciple pressed the Master for an answer, he finally said, “Give the money to the poor. At least they will benefit from it, even though you will not.”
If you do not serve, you injure others.
If you do, you injure yourself.
Ignorance of this dilemma is the death of the soul.
Freedom from this dilemma is eternal life.
In today’s gospel, Jesus proclaims a “year of God’s favor” or a jubilee year – a year when debts would be forgiven and the poor could start fresh and free. “In the Jubilee Year as quoted in Leviticus, those enslaved because of debts are freed, lands lost because of debt are returned, and a community torn by inequality is restored.” During the jubilee year 2000, many groups were inspired to work for debt relief for the poorest, most indebted nations of the world. The effort continues. For more info go to http://www.jubileeusa.org/
“ONE is a hard-headed movement of people around the world fighting the absurdity of extreme poverty.” Find out more at http://www.one.org/us/ Take action online.
The following is from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Poverty/Pages/SRExtremePovertyIndex.aspx
Today almost half of the population in developing countries lives in extreme poverty, and are denied basic human rights such as the right to an adequate standard of living, including food and housing, the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and education.
People living in poverty across the world are often socially excluded and marginalized from political power and processes.
Their right to effectively participate in public affairs is often ignored.
The elimination of extreme poverty is not a question of charity, but a pressing human rights issue. States are legally obligated to realize human rights for all, prioritizing the most vulnerable, including those living in extreme poverty.
Prayers of Intercession
Response: God, set us all free.
For all those who do not have access to the basics of human living, food, shelter, water, clothing, and health care, we pray….
For all people who do not have access to their lands or natural resources and so cannot be free to prosper, we pray….
For all nations and peoples held down by debt, we pray….
For all those oppressed by military powers, oppressive rulers, or any form of terrorism, we pray…
For all those who are denied any of their human rights, we pray….
For all those trapped by poverty and injustice, we pray….
For those who live in the midst of war, terrorism, or other violence, we pray…..
In particular, for all our Haitian sisters and brothers, we pray….
The prayer below is edited from St. Mary’s College Ipswich at http://www.smc.qld.edu.au/prayers3.htm which is no longer available.
Living God, we pray for all people:
* For those women shut off from a full life by tradition and practice.
* For those people who are oppressed and exploited.
* For those denied their freedom and dignity by systems and authorities.
* For those forced to leave their homelands because of their ideologies.
* For those seeking answers and meaning to their lives within their own cultures and religions.
* For those who labor too long and too hard only to barely feed and clothe themselves and their families.
* For those forced to sell their bodies to survive
* For those women and men who live lives of quiet desperation at the hands of the powerful and prestigious.
* For these and all who suffer
We pray, asking that the Church may once again give joyful expression to your creative love
* Which breaks down barriers and unites person to person, woman to man, and community to community,
* Which gives meaning and hope to empty lives and makes us reach out to each other in generous self-giving,
* Which makes us more complete ourselves.
So God, fulfill your promise in us for the sake of all human beings through Jesus Christ.
"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching death."
~ Martin Luther King, Jr., Riverside Church, New York City, 4 April 1967