Lectionary Reflections: Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time [c] July 7, 2013

Engaging Faith | Mon, Jul 1, 2013

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time [c]

July 7, 2013


Isaiah 66:10-14c

Galatians 6:14-18

Luke 10:1-12, 17-20 or 10:1-9



July 4: Independence Day in United States

July 9 or 10: Start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan

July 18: Nelson Mandela International Day



“The hungry nations of the world cry out to the peoples blessed with abundance. And the Church, cut to the quick by this cry, asks each and every person to hear their brother or sister’s plea and answer it lovingly.”

 - Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 3


“Consumerism and a ‘culture of waste’ have led some of us to tolerate the waste of precious resources, including food, while others are literally wasting away from hunger. I ask all of you to reflect on this grave ethical problem in a spirit of solidarity grounded in our common responsibility for the earth and for all our brothers and sisters in the human family.”

- Pope Francis, June 5, 2013


“As Leo XIII so wisely taught in Rerum Novarum: ‘whoever has received from the divine bounty a large share of temporal blessings, whether they be external and corporeal, or gifts of the mind, has received them for the purpose of using them for the perfecting of his own nature, and, at the same time, that he may employ them, as the steward of God's Providence, for the benefit of others.’ ‘He that hath a talent,' says St. Gregory the Great, 'let him see that he hide it not; he that hath abundance, let him quicken himself to mercy and generosity; he that hath art and skill, let him do his best to share the use and the utility thereof with his neighbor.’”

- Pope John XXIII, Mater and Magistra (Christianity and Social Progress) 119


“God asks more from those to whom he gives more. They are not greater or better, they have greater responsibility. They must give more service.”

- Archbishop Dom Helder Camara, “The Desert is Fertile”


“We cannot call ourselves Catholic unless we hear and heed the Church's teaching to serve those in need, to protect human life and dignity, and to pursue justice and peace.”

United State Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Sharing Catholic Social Teaching”


“Affluent nations such as our own have to acknowledge the impact of voracious consumerism….”

- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 

Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good


Thoughts for your consideration

In the powerful maternal images of the passage from Isaiah, we are reminded that there is an abundance of God’s love and gifts. As we journey through life, we are called to drop our worries and all the extra baggage we might want to carry. We are called to have a great confidence in the abundance of God’s gifts and our ability to share them. We don’t have to worry. We can live a simple life style. We don’t need always to accumulate more and more. We don’t need all the stuff we have or the excesses of our consumer culture. As Isaiah writes:

“Oh, that you may suck fully of the milk of her comfort, that you may nurse with delight at her abundant breasts! … I will spread prosperity over Jerusalem like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent.”  

We can make a mistake and read this scripture as a promise of material prosperity and wealth to the followers of Jesus.  We can misread the scriptures as a kind of promise of wealth for those special people who believe. Such a prosperity theology is not part of real teachings of Jesus.  Rather, we are called to let go of our striving for things and power and control. We can live simply. God calls us into community and solidarity and not the accumulation of things and material securities. Out of this perspective we can come to great peace and joy. We can respect the creation and live for the common good.

Those who study hunger and food security in the world remind us that there is no shortage of food; rather there is a problem of distribution and justice.  We are right to assume that there is an abundance of God’s gifts in the world. It is not a problem of production; rather it is a problem of distribution. We are called to move beyond selfishness to sharing what we have been given.

Jesus calls the 72 to go out and proclaim this liberating message. Jesus calls them not to a heavy burden or to an oppressive sacrifice, but to a life of faith and freedom, a life of joy and service. The gospel invites us to consider our vocation to help people, to open their eyes to the abundance of God’s love, and to share those gifts with each other.  We are called to proclaim the reign of God - a reign not based on material possessions or on financial security or on political or military power. The harvest is ready.  

The people of the world have a deep desire for the liberating gospel message. We are called to work for the liberation of the whole world. We are to get excited about the vision of Jesus. From this excitement and love, will come a vision that includes all the particular individual calls which can all be a source of life and freedom and joy (not a heavy burden or a commitment to some big institution, but a source of freedom).

We are all called to follow Jesus and the seventy-two with a deep confidence in the abundance of God’s gifts. We are called to work for the joyous liberation of the world and all of its people.  We are called to be liberated and alive in God and with one another.


Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

1. What is the assumption you make in your life: That there will be enough or that will not be enough?

2. Share some experience you have had of scarcity or fear of scarcity and how you got through it.


Where do you find yourself getting caught up in the consumer culture?

How have you been able to let go of the consumer culture of striving for more things?



The story is told of an American tourist who visited the 19th century Polish rabbi, Hofetz Chaim. Astonished to see that the rabbi's home was only a simple room filled with books, plus a table and a bench, the tourist asked, "Rabbi, where is your furniture?"

"Where is yours?" replied the rabbi.

"Mine?" asked the puzzled American. "But I'm a visitor here. I'm only passing through."

"So am I," said Hofetz Chaim.


Actions / Links

JustFaith Ministries provides programs that transform people and expand their commitment to social ministry in the context of small faith communities.  Get info at

Join with the American Friends Service Committee and speak up to Congress about Pentagon spending. Go to

The Muslim holy month starts July 9. It is a time of fasting, prayer and repentance, when Muslims distance themselves from worldly activities in an effort to align their lives more closely with God and God’s laws.  Get more information at:


“Crazy facts”

The 17th annual Capgemini world wealth report recently was published and can be found at Find a summary at

“In total, the world’s richest people have a combined wealth of a record $46 trillion. …  A headcount by the latest World Wealth report reckons high net worth individuals number about 12 million people. …. High net worth is defined as some with disposable cash of $1 million or more, not including their main home, collections and consumables.”

“The wealthiest 1 percent now controls 39 percent of the world's wealth, and their share is likely to grow in the coming years, according to a new report.  The world's total private wealth grew 7.8 percent last year to $135 trillion, according to the Boston Consulting Group's Global Wealth report. The top 1 percent controls $52.8 trillion, and those worth $5 million or more control nearly a quarter of the world's wealth. That concentration is likely to increase in the coming years as the wealth of the wealthy grows faster than overall global wealth. The number of millionaires in the world surged by 10 percent year, reaching 13.8 million. The study predicts that global wealth will grow around 4.8 percent a year over the next five years—though millionaires will see their wealth grow nearly twice as fast.”


Prayers of Intercession

Response: God, help us to share your goodness and gifts.

For those who do not have enough to eat, we pray….

For those who are homeless, we pray…..

For those who are refugees and immigrants, we pray….

For those who are caught up in places of violence and war, we pray….

For those who do not the opportunity for an excellent education, we pray….

For those who experience any injustice, we pray….

For those who have a surplus, we pray….

For those who over consume and even abuse the gifts of our planet, we pray….

For all of us called to share the vision and practice of Jesus, we pray….



O God, we pray for all those in our world who are suffering from injustice:

For those who are discriminated against because of their race, color or religion;

For those imprisoned for working for the relief of oppression;

For those who are hounded for speaking the inconvenient truth;

For those tempted to violence as a cry against overwhelming hardship;

For those deprived of reasonable health and education;

For those suffering from hunger and famine;

For those too weak to help themselves and who have no one else to help them;

For the unemployed who cry out for work but do not find it.

We pray for anyone of our acquaintance who is personally affected by injustice.

Forgive us, Lord, if we unwittingly share in the conditions 

or in a system that perpetuates injustice.

Show us how we can serve your children and make your love practical by washing their feet.

- Attributed to Mother Theresa


Lord Jesus, You who are the way, the truth, and the life; hear us as we pray for the truth that will make all free. Teach us that liberty is not only to be loved but also to be lived. Help us see that our liberty is not the right to do as we please, but the opportunity to do what is right.

- Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall, 1947



Copyright © 2013, Center of Concern