Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time [a] August 31, 2014

Engaging Faith | Thu, Aug 21, 2014

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


Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time [a]

August 31, 2014

Copyright @ 2014, Center of Concern


     Jeremiah 20:7-9

     Romans 12:1-2

     Matthew 16:21-27



August 30: International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances

September 1: Labor Day in the United States and Labour Day in Canada



There is a growing awareness of the sublime dignity of human persons, who stand above all things and whose rights and duties are universal and inviolable. They ought, therefore, to have ready access to all that is necessary for living a genuinely human life: for example, food, clothing, housing, ... the right to education, and work...

- Vatican II, The Church and the Modern World, #26


Every citizen also has the responsibility to work to secure justice and human rights through an organized social response.

- US Bishops, Economic Justice for All, #120


Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society. This demands that we be docile and attentive to the cry of the poor

- Pope Francis, Evangelli Gaudium, 187


The "spirit of the world" offers many false illusions and parodies of happiness. There is perhaps no darkness deeper than the darkness that enters young people's souls when false prophets extinguish in them the light of faith and hope and love. The greatest deception, and the deepest source of unhappiness, is the illusion of finding life by excluding God, of finding freedom by excluding moral truths and personal responsibility.

- John Paul II, Toronto, Canada, WYD 2002


Thoughts for your consideration

The prophet Jeremiah tries to be faithful to God’s message and then discovers that everyone mocks him.  However, despite the difficulty, divine strength comes to Jeremiah and he continues to speak God’s word even at great personal cost.  

Jesus anticipates the opposition that he will face in Jerusalem from various authorities.  The disciples discourage him from going forward.  However, Jesus dismisses their opposition.  Jesus is not afraid of speaking truth to power.  Jesus goes forth on his mission.

Doesn’t the word of God and the social teaching of the church call us today to the same thing?  Are we not called to open our eyes to the concerns of those who are in need in our world and those who have no voice? Are we not called to speak up for what is just and right in our world?  Are we not called to be faithful to what we believe even when we foresee opposition?

In Catholic Social Teaching we hear a call to speak up for the rights of workers, for justice for the poor and the powerless, for care for refugees and immigrants, for a revolution in the values of our consumer society, for leaders whose first concern is the common good, for an end to war and violence, and for the dignity of all human persons. 

The power of our culture and the power of our institutions may oppose the message that we try to share.  We may become afraid or confused.  We may experience opposition and persecution. However, Jesus was not afraid of speaking truth to power.  Jesus says: “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?”

On this Labor Day weekend we must be afraid to speak up for the rights of workers.  We must not be afraid to address the challenge of income inequality and work for justice for all people in our society.


Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

  • When have you been called to speak up for justice in the face of opposition?  
  • What happened?  Where did you get the strength to speak up?



From Anthony de Mello, The Heart of the Enlightened:

Two gunfighters were about to engage in a duel. A space was cleared for them in the saloon. One was an unimposing little man, known far and wide as a professional fighter. The other was a huge, hefty fellow. The big guy took one look at his opponent, then said: “Wait a minute! This isn’t a fair fight! He’s shooting at a larger target!”

Think about the story before you go to this web site for a perspective and connection to this week’s scriptures.


Actions - Links

Labor Day

2014 Labor Day Statement of the USCCB focuses on unemployment among young people.

The full text of the 2014 Labor Day Statement (and other materials) is available online in English:



A 21 Day Prayer Journey for Justice

For a challenging twenty-one day prayer journey around the world presented by Catholic Relief Services go to:


Robert Reich on inequalities in our system

Read his post “Worth and Work” at

Read his post “The Non-working Rich” at 


“Crazy Facts”

According to the Social Security Administration in 2012, the average net compensation of a worker in the United States was $42,498.21, however, half of all workers earned less than $27,519.10. 


“A project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, KIDS COUNT is the premier source for data on child and family well-being in the United States. Access hundreds of indicators, download data and create reports and graphics on the KIDS COUNT Data Center that support smart decisions about children and families.”  

You can access their data at

You can read their 2014 data book at

More than one in eight children (13 percent) live in a neighborhood where the poverty rate is 30 percent or higher. In 2012, 35 percent of children were living with a single parent; the rate for African-American children was 67 percent. About half of all children will spend a portion of their childhood in a single-parent home.


Prayers of Intercession

Response: Lord, help us to call out for justice.

For all our children in the United States who live in poverty, we pray…

For all the children in our world who live in extreme poverty, we pray….

For the people of Somalia who are dying in the drought and famine, we pray….

For the refugees and immigrants, especially those who live in fear of deportation, we pray….

For those without access to quality medical care for themselves and their families, we pray….

For those who are trapped in places of war and constant terrorism, we pray….

For all the wealthy of our world who are unable to see the needs of others, we pray…

For our earth with all is plants, animals, oceans, and streams that is straining and dying because of our misuse and over use, we pray….



Come Holy Spirit. Come! Fill the hearts of your people.

Come Holy Spirit that we may be aware:

aware of the people around us, especially the poor and oppressed

-aware of the children, the young people, all the people striving to grow into their dignity as children of God

-aware of the world around us, especially the environment with its plants and animals, with its land and water, with its air and space, with all its mystery

-aware of the structures of power, especially those that keep people poor or powerless or confused or unfree

-aware of the violence and the threats of violence, which are not the way of Jesus

-aware of our selves and our bias and stereotypes and all our unfreedom

-aware of all the possibilities for freedom and joy and life.


Come Holy Spirit. Come! Fill the hearts of your people.

Give us the freedom to see. 

Give us the wisdom and courage to speak.


For a challenging twenty-one day prayer journey around the world presented by Catholic Relief Services go to: