Engaging Faith | Fri, Aug 23, 2013
Lectionary Reflections for Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 25, 2013
Twenty-first Sunday of Ordinary Time [c]
August 25, 2013
Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13
August 23: International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
August 26: Women’s Equality Day [The date commemorates the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote.]
August 28: Dream Day [Martin Luther King Jr. gave the 'I Have a Dream' speech in 1963]
August 30: Thurgood Marshall took a seat on the Supreme Court in 1967.
September 2: Labor Day in the United States
“All people are endowed with a rational soul and are created in God’s image; they have the same nature and origin and, being redeemed by Christ, they enjoy the same divine calling and destiny; there is here a basic equality between all people and it must be given ever greater recognition.… forms of social or cultural discrimination in basic personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language or religion, must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God's design.”
Vatican Council II, Gaudium et Spes, No. 29
“Respect for nature by everyone, a policy of openness to immigrants, the cancellation or significant reduction of the debt of poorer nations, the promotion of peace through dialogue and negotiation, the primacy of the rule of law: these are the priorities which the leaders of the developed nations cannot disregard. A global world is essentially a world of solidarity!”
Address of Pope John Paul II to President George W. Bush, July 23, 2001
“Do not think that the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views.… through compassionate dialogue, help others renounce fanaticism and narrowness.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, “Being Peace”
“When workers come from another country or district and contribute to the economic advancement of a nation or region by their labor, all discrimination as regards wages and working conditions must be carefully avoided… public authorities must help them bring their families to live with them and to provide decent dwelling… and incorporated into the social life of the country or region.”
Vatican Council II, Gaudium et Spes, No. 66
“Encountering and welcoming everyone, solidarity – a word that is being hidden by this culture, as if it were a bad word – solidarity and fraternity: these are what make our society truly human.
Pope Francis, July 27, 2013
Thoughts for your consideration
Isaiah reminds us that God desires to bring together people from all the nations.
Jesus tells his followers that salvation is not just for the descendents of Abraham and Sarah; it is offered to people from all the corners of the earth.
In a world divided by wars, violence, dishonesty, economic inequality, discrimination and ethnic distrust, it is fitting that the scriptures should remind us of the all-inclusive nature of God’s plan for the world.
Racism can be observed in the ways people treat one other and can also be observed embedded in the structures and institutions of our world. We might use the images of the second reading from the letter to the Hebrews to remind ourselves that God’s desire is that “what is lame may not be disjointed but healed.” This week will be the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The Spirit of Jesus invites us to put an end to the divisions that divide us by race or class or any other category. The Spirit of Jesus invites our world into a process of healing – the healing of racial and ethnic divisions – the healing of everything that divides us.
All over our world, millions of immigrants and refugees seek new lands for economic opportunities or because of violence or political difficulties in their homelands. They often travel at great risk. They often are not welcome in their new lands. Yet the Hebrew and Christian scriptures invite us to welcome the strangers in our land. The Spirit of Jesus invites us to put an end to the divisions that divide us by race or class or any other category. The Spirit of Jesus invites our world into a process of healing – the healing of racial and ethnic divisions – the healing of everything that divides us.
All over our planet, women are often victims of discrimination. Cultural values often limit their freedom and opportunities. Political policies often work against their economic and human rights and opportunities. This week we will celebrate Women’s Equality Day. Again, the Spirit of Jesus invites us to put an end to the divisions that divide us by race, class, gender or any other category. The Spirit of Jesus invites our world into a process of healing – the healing of racial and ethnic divisions – the healing of everything that divides us.
Christians are called to be free and open. We come to salvation when we open our eyes and see, when we open our eyes and see people as they are and not through the lens of cultural prejudices. We come to salvation when we can see one another as brothers and sisters with the same God as our common parent. We are called to enter through the narrow gate – not the “wide gate” that comes from living on automatic pilot and just going along with the bias and prejudice of our culture or particular ethnic or racial community.
Questions for Reflection in Your Faith Sharing Group
When have you experienced being in a minority or being excluded?
Or when have you experienced being discriminated against because of whom you are?
What did you do? How did you react?
On the 28th, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. If you were around at that time, what do you remember? If you were not born yet, what is its impact on you as you listen to it today?
The Skateboard Race (a children’s story)
Actions – Links
Woman’s Equality Day
In 1971 the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day.” The date commemorates the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. The observance also calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality. For more information, go to: http://www.nwhp.org/resourcecenter/equalityday.php
50th anniversary of the march on Washington:
Read Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at:
Listen to the speech at
Teaching about racism:
A teacher reflects on teaching young children about race:
In developing countries, 79 percent of economically active women spend their working hours producing food through agriculture. Women are 43 percent of the farming work force. Yields for women farmers are 20-30 percent lower than for men. This is because women have less access to improved seeds, fertilizers and equipment. Giving women farmers more resources could bring the number of hungry people in the world down by up to 150 million people.
More than 60 percent of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities. One out of every 10 African-American men in their 30s in prison or jail on any given day.
Prayers of Intercession
Response: Free us to welcome all people into your love.
For refugees throughout our world, we pray….
For immigrants to our land and to places all over the world, we pray….
For those who are judged or stereotyped by their race or ethnic background, we pray….
For the elderly and the very young, we pray….
For women throughout the world, that they may be treated with equality and dignity, we pray….
For children who lack the necessities of food, shelter, health care or education, we pray….
For all people in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other troubled places, we pray….
Lord, Jesus Christ,
who reached across the ethnic boundaries between Samaritan, Roman and Jew,
who offered fresh sight to the blind and freedom to captives,
help us to break down the barriers in our community,
enable us to see the reality of racism and bigotry,
and free us to challenge and uproot it from ourselves,
our society and our world. Amen