Engaging Faith | Mon, Oct 6, 2014
Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time [a], October 5, 2014
Copyright @ 2014, Center of Concern
Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time [a]
October 12, 2014
Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20
Matthew 22:1-14 or 22:1-10
October 8-15: Sukkot, Jewish festival of booths (or tabernacles) and the fall harvest
October 11: International Day of the Girl Child
October 13: “Columbus Day” in the United States
October 13: Thanksgiving Day in Canada
October 14: Birthday of the Peace Corps
October 16: World Food Day
There is the tendency to place ourselves and our ambitions at the center of our lives. This is very human, but it is not Christian.
Pope Francis @Pontifex Sep 27
“As individuals and as a nation, therefore, we are called to make a fundamental 'option for the poor.' The obligation to evaluate social and economic activity from the viewpoint of the poor and the powerless arises from the radical command to love one's neighbor as one's self. Those who are marginalized and whose rights are denied have privileged claims if society is to provide justice for all. This obligation is deeply rooted in Christian belief.”
U.S. Catholic Bishops, Economic Justice for All, #87
The economy must serve people, not the other way around.
Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political
Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States, 52
Farm owners and farm workers are the immediate stewards of the natural resources required to produce the food that is necessary to sustain life. These resources must be understood as gifts of a generous God. When they are seen in that light and when the human race is perceived as a single moral community, we gain a sense of the substantial responsibility we bear as a nation for the world food system. Meeting human needs today and in the future demands an increased sense of stewardship and conservation from owners, managers, and regulators of all resources, especially those required for the production of food.
US Bishops, Economic Justice for All, #228
One of the aspects of today’s economic system is the exploitation of international disequilibrium in labor costs, which relies on billions of people living on less than two dollars a day. Such an imbalance not only does not respect the dignity of those who supply the cheap labor, but it destroys sources of employment in those regions where it is more protected. This raises the problem of creating mechanisms for the protection of labor rights and the environment, in the presence of a growing consumerist ideology, which does not show responsibility in the confrontation between the cities and the created world.
Pope Francis, Plenary of the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace, October 2, 2014
Thoughts for your consideration
The vision of Isaiah is the vision of a God who wants good things for all people. In a world of poverty and injustice, Isaiah paints a vision of a God who provides for everyone generously. In a world of nationalism and ethnic & racial division, Isaiah paints a vision of a God who destroys the veil/web that covers over and divides all people. In a world in which people are focused on money and the problems of the economy, Isaiah talks about discovering a God who saves us – a God with a liberating set of values. In a world which continues to see so many tears and so much injustice, Isaiah paints the vision of a God who wants to wipe away those tears and bring us together in a new way.
This vision is repeated in Jesus’ story of the wedding feast. What God wants is a great wedding feast – a feast that is open to all. God is unhappy when folks don’t accept the invitation. “The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests.” The vision is expressed in what we call today the “option for the poor.” The vision is made concrete whenever we work to include those on the outside – those without power - minorities, women, immigrants, refugees, the elderly, the sick, those who don’t fit our expectations and priorities.
In our fast paced and busy world, the story of Jesus reminds us of what can prevent us from sharing in the vision of Jesus. We get too busy with other things. We miss the invitation. Instead of taking advantage of the feast, we end up going our own way to buy a farm or manage a business. We become preoccupied with money or possessions. We can get separated from the vision of Jesus; we can miss out on the great wedding feast. We can be distracted by the various ideologies of our culture – consumerism, discrimination, militarism, sexism, racism, fear, isolation, rugged individualism, nationalism, etc. We can be distracted by wealth or financial security or entertainment or prestige.
The excerpt from Philippians reminds us that the vision of Jesus is a vision of freedom – freedom to have a lot or a little, a freedom to come to the banquet and to share the banquet – freedom to share “in the glorious riches of Jesus Christ.” It is the very opposite of the spirit that leaves a large percentage of the children in the US in poverty. It is the opposite of the spirit of war and terrorism. It is the very opposite of the spirit that puts us in a world of radical economic inequality and injustice. It is the very opposite of so many of the ‘ungodly’ spirits around us.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
When have your enjoyed a wonderful and all-inclusive joyous party?
In what ways did it remind you of the images of today’s scriptures?
How does this image help you envision what God might want for our world?
Over the summer many of us became aware of the situation of unaccompanied minors trying to enter the United States at the Mexican - United States boarder. What was your reaction of this issue? What was the reaction of people in your community? What do the scriptures today say to us about issues like this?
How does the image of the wedding feast contrast with your perception of our economic situation?
There is a story about a man who runs out to meet a monk who is passing by the village. ‘Give me the stone,’ he cries, ‘the precious stone.’
The monk says, ‘What stone are you talking about?’
The man says, ‘Last night God appeared to me in a dream and said, “A monk will be passing by the village at noon tomorrow, and if he gives you a rock that he is carrying with him, you will be the richest man in the country.” So give me the stone!’
The monk reached into his sack and took out a diamond; the biggest diamond in the world, the size of a human head! And he said, ‘Is this the stone you want? I found it in the forest. Take it.’ The man seized the stone and went running home. But he couldn’t sleep that night. Very early the next morning he went to where the monk was sleeping under a tree, woke him up, and said, ‘Here’s your diamond back. I want the kind of wealth that enables you to throw wealth away.’
Anthony de Mello, Walking on Water, 30
Actions - Links
FCNL & lobbying for peace and justice
“The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) fields the largest team of registered peace lobbyists in Washington, DC. Founded in 1943 by members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), FCNL's multi-issue advocacy connects historic Quaker testimonies on peace, equality, simplicity, and truth with peace and social justice issues which the United States government is or should be addressing. FCNL is nonpartisan.” http://fcnl.org Take action on many issues at: http://capwiz.com/fconl/issues/ .
The Day of the Girl
October 11 is the International Day of the Girl Child
Get some info at http://dayofthegirl.org/
Check out the Girl Effect site at
“Blacks are far more likely to be arrested for selling or possessing drugs than whites, even though whites use drugs at the same rate. And whites are actually more likely to sell drugs.”
- By 2015, females will make up 64% of the world’s illiterate (adult) population. (PDF)
- Only 30% of girls in the world are enrolled in secondary school. (PDF)
- Girls make up half of the high school population, but receive only 41% of all athletic participation opportunities.
- Women only hold 15.7% of top leadership positions in Fortune 500 companies.
- One in seven girls in developing countries is married off before age 15.
- More than half (54%) of all rapes of females happen before age 18. (PDF)
Prayers of Intercession
Response: Lord, guide us on the road to justice for all.
For the billions of people in our world who are poor, we pray…..
For all those who are hungry this day, we pray….
For all the people who are homeless or in danger of losing their homes, we pray…..
For the millions of people who are refugees without even a nation to call home, we pray….
For the countless people who are excluded because of their ethnic or racial heritage, we pray….
For those who live in places of war and terrorism, we pray….
For our planet as he suffers from our use, abuse and overuse, we pray….
For those who are overly preoccupied with their money and possession, we pray….
For our political leaders called to lead us through all the difficulties, we pray….
Prayer - Meditation
”In days to come the mount of the LORD'S house Shall be established higher than the mountains; it shall rise high above the hills, And peoples shall stream to it: Many nations shall come, and say, "Come, let us climb the mount of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, That he may instruct us in his ways, that we may walk in his paths." For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples and impose terms on strong and distant nations; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.”
God, the mountain seems so high.
God, the path seems so steep and challenging.
God, help us to be connected to one another in a spirit of respect for all.
God, lead us to the top of the mountain of peace and justice.