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Lectionary Reflections: Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time [a] February 23, 2014

Engaging Faith | Tue, Feb 18, 2014

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time [a]

February 23, 2014

Copyright @ 2014, Center of Concern

Readings

Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18

1 Corinthians 3:16-23

Matthew 5:38-48

 

Calendar

Feb. 28: International Stand Up to Bullying Day

March 1: Zero Discrimination Day http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/documents/2014/name,90629,en.asp

 

Quotes

“Peace must be built on the basis of justice in a world where the personal and social consequences of sin are evident.”

- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “The Challenge of Peace,” No. 56

 

“Wars shatter so many lives. I think especially of children robbed of their childhood.”

- Pope Francis, Jan. 18, 2014

 

“Peace is the outcome of a long and demanding battle which is only won when evil is defeated by good.”

- Pope John Paul II, Jan. 1 2005

 

“Daily human events clearly evidence how much forgiveness and reconciliation are undeniably needed for bringing about a real personal and social renewal. This is valid in interpersonal relations but also among communities as well as nations.”

- Pope John Paul II, Message for Lent, 2001

 

“It is to be hoped that hatred and violence will not triumph in people's hearts, especially among those who are struggling for justice, and that all people will grow in the spirit of peace and forgiveness.”

- Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, No. 27

 

“Love for others, and in the first place love for the poor, in whom the Church sees Christ himself, is made concrete in the promotion of justice. Justice will never be fully attained unless people see in the poor person, who is asking for help in order to survive, not an annoyance or a burden, but an opportunity for showing kindness and a chance for greater enrichment. Only such an awareness can give the courage needed to face the risk and the change involved in every authentic attempt to come to the aid of another. It is not merely a matter of ‘giving from one's surplus,’ but of helping entire peoples which are presently excluded or marginalized to enter into the sphere of economic and human development. For this to happen, it is not enough to draw on the surplus goods which in fact our world abundantly produces; it requires above all a change of life-styles, of models of production and consumption, and of the established structures of power which today govern societies.”

- Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, No. 58

 

Thoughts for your consideration

Jesus said to his disciples:

Offer no resistance to one who is evil.

When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well.

If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well.

Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two miles

Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

 

This is crazy.  This makes no sense to people living in the competitive, success driven, consumer culture of the United States. This will not sell on talk radio. This makes no sense if we must be No. 1. This makes no sense if we need to defend ourselves from other armies and enemies.   

Jesus proclaimed a radical message about God’s love for all of us. Jesus offered a radical invitation to love one another without condition – to love those who are different than ourselves, to love even our enemies.  In a world with many examples of hatred, violence, war, and unnecessary death, Jesus appears with the radical call for us to love our enemies, to turn the other cheek, to trust in the way of peace, and to be especially concerned for those most in need.  

Can the followers of Jesus today be faithful to this call, or will the vision of active loving nonviolence get lost and forgotten even by people who call themselves Christian?

Can we live what we hear in the Book of Leviticus: “You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart. … Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Do we really believe that this is the way God wants us to live?  That this is the way of Jesus?

In today’s selection from the first letter to the Corinthians Paul reminds us: “The wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God.”

 

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

  • What does the Christian vision of active nonviolence say to you in light of war and terrorism?  
  • Do you believe it should be our response?  
  • Is this practical and realistic?
  • Can you share that belief with others?
  • What “spirituality” will make it possible to live this way?

 

Story

 “What is love?”

“The total absence of fear,” said the Master.

“What is it we fear?”

“Love,” said the Master.

From Anthony DeMello SJ, http://lazarus.trinityjanesville.org/demello.htm

 

Actions – Links

Gospel Values

In December 2010, TV personality Steven Colbert reflected on the gospel of Christ and the crazy values of Jesus Christ.  You can listen to it at:

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/368914/december-1...

 

Minimum Wage

Check out the interactive site “Can You Live on the Minimum Wage?”

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/02/09/opinion/minimum-wage.html

Check out this editorial about the Minimum Wage:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/09/opinion/sunday/the-case-for-a-higher-m...

Consider taking action on this issue at:

http://action.ourfuture.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=266

And at http://capwiz.com/jesuit/issues/alert/?alertid=63078021

 

InSight Campaign to End Gun Violence

Read about Pax Christi Long Island’s efforts at http://paxchristiusa.org/2014/02/12/regional-news-pax-christi-long-islan...

 

Peace Organizations

The War Resisters League has been resisting war at home and war abroad since 1923. Read more at https://www.warresisters.org/   Pax Christi is the Catholic Peace Organization.  Learn more at http://www.paxchristi.net/  and http://paxchristiusa.org/ .

 

“Crazy Facts”

Adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum wage peaked in 1968 at $8.56 (in 2012 dollars). Since it was last raised in 2009, to the current $7.25 an hour, the federal minimum has lost about 5.8 percent of its purchasing power to inflation.  http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/12/04/5-facts-about-the-minimu...

 

“The Minimum Wage in America Is Pretty Damn Low.”

http://m.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/12/minimum-wage-america-pretty-...

 

The U.S. population, according to the 2012 census, was 313.9 million people. That means the country spends roughly $2,000 per person on defense.…  With China's population at roughly 1.35 billion people in 2012, China spends just $83 per person on its defense budget.  

http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2014/02/12/275885249/global-military-...

 

Prayers of Intercession

Response: God, teach to love as Jesus taught.

In a world with too much war and violence, we pray…

In a world with so much poverty and injustice, we pray…

In a world that spends way too much on the weapons of war, we pray…

In a nation with so much economic inequality, we pray…

In a nation with so many children who are still hungry or without good schooling, we pray…

With hearts that still find it hard to love our enemies, we pray…

With a vision that still cannot see clearly, we pray…

 

Prayer - Meditation

Prayer for Peace    

Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.

Source: The Tanakh, Micah 4:2-5 www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org  

 

Images

http://www.billionbellsforpeace.org/pax-christi-a-world-partner-for-peace

https://occupyhburg.wordpress.com/tag/non-violence/

http://redlimesrilanka.wordpress.com/category/research/