Engaging Faith | Mon, Nov 3, 2014
Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome [a]. November 9, 2014
Copyright @ 2014, Center of Concern
Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
November 9, 2014
[For a brief explanation of why this feast is celebrated on a Sunday and how it is connected to the issue of religious freedom, go to: http://www.rpinet.com/ml/2409bi2.html.]
Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12
1 Corinthians 3:9c-11, 16-17
November 9: Holocaust begins in 1938 in Germany [Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass)]
November 11: Veterans’ Day in the US & Remembrance Day in Canada
November 15: America Recycles Day
Inequality is the root of social evil.
-Pope Francis @Pontifex · Apr 28, 2014
Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel, or, in other words, of the Church's mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation.
-1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
-Article 18, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Wherefore, whatever the progress in technology and economic life, there can be neither justice nor peace in the world, so long as men fail to realize how great is their dignity; for they have been created by God and are His children.
-Blessed John XXIII, Mater et Magistra, 215
Our faith demands of us a certain sparingness in use, and the Church is obliged to live and administer its own goods in such a way that the Gospel is proclaimed to the poor. If instead the Church appears to be among the rich and the powerful of this world its credibility is diminished.
-1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World
Faith is not a light which scatters all our darkness, but a lamp which guides our steps in the night and suffices for the journey. To those who suffer, God does not provide arguments which explain everything; rather, his response is that of an accompanying presence, a history of goodness which touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light.
-Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei, June 29, 2013
We cannot be tepid disciples. The Church needs our courage in order to give witness to truth.
-Pope Francis @Pontifex · Mar 25, 2014
Thoughts for your consideration
Historically, the feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome can be seen as a celebration of religious freedom. [See http://www.rpinet.com/ml/2409bi2.html.] It goes back to the days in the fourth century when the long era of persecution came to an end and Christians were given religious freedom. In our pluralistic age, it reminds us to respect and learn from the many religious faiths practiced in our world.
The social teaching of the Church has sometimes been referred to as “its best kept secret.” This social teaching is a powerful and important part of our tradition. It is a body of wisdom. The first reading from Ezekiel uses the image of water flowing from the temple to remind us of the wonderful life-giving wisdom and teaching that flows out from the church and our tradition when it is at its best.
Our social teaching places great emphasis on the great value of every human person. The reading from Corinthians reminds us that we are “God’s building” and the “temple of God.” The church is more than a physical building or an institution. It is community of people living out the gospel.
Our social teaching challenges us to keep our values in order. In the gospel today, Jesus drives the money-changers out of the temple. As a church community and as individuals we need to be vigilant so that materialism and consumerism does not corrupt our religious practice and distract us from the teaching of Jesus Christ.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
Where do you feel that the Church is in need of renewal or reform in its efforts to promote justice in the world?
What gets you excited about being a member of a church? What gives you consolation?
THE PERFECT APPLE from Anthony DeMello’s The Song of the Bird
Nasruddin had barely finished his discourse when one of the scoffers in the crowd said to him, “Instead of spinning spiritual theories, why don’t you show us something practical?”
Poor Nasruddin was quite nonplussed. “What kind of practical thing would you want me to show you?” he asked. Pleased that he had mortified the Mulla and was making an impression on the crowd the scoffer said, “For instance, show as an apple from the garden of Paradise.” Nasruddin immediately picked up an apple and handed it to the man.
“But this apple is bad on one side,” said the man. “Surely a heavenly apple would be perfect.”
“A celestial apple would, indeed, be perfect.” said the Mulla, “But given your present faculties, this is as near to a heavenly apple as you will ever get.”
Can one expect to see a perfect apple with an imperfect eye?
Or detect goodness in others when one’s own heart is selfish?
Actions - Links
Even It Up, a Time to End Extreme Poverty is a report from Oxfam that was issued on October 29. You may read it at:http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/cr-even-it-up-extreme-inequality-301014-en.reviewed.pdf You can read the summary at:http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/cr-even-it-up-extreme-inequality-301014-summ-en.reviewed.pdf
Season of Action against Hunger
For information about the Oxfam America Season of Action against Hunger go to:
Worldwide, inequality of individual wealth is even more extreme. At the start of 2014, Oxfam calculated that the richest 85 people on the planet owned as much as the poorest half of humanity.
Since the financial crisis, the ranks of the world’s billionaires has more than doubled, swelling to 1,645 people.
Only 23 chief executives of Fortune 500 companies and only three of the 30 richest people in the world are women. Meanwhile, women make up the vast majority of the lowest-paid workers and those in the most precarious jobs.
Prayers of Intercession
Response: God, help us build a house of faith welcoming all people.
For our church, we pray….
For our leadership, clergy and lay, we pray….
For those who do not enjoy religious freedom, we pray….
For the poor, especially children in poverty, we pray….
For refugees and immigrants, we pray….
For women who don’t’ enjoy a full share of human and economic rights, we pray…..
For those caught up in situations of war or violence, we pray….
For the veterans of our many wars, we pray….
For all those who feel left out and discriminated against in any way, we pray….
Prayer – Meditation
God, religion is boring.
People say things that are “absolutely true and totally useless.”
God, religion sometimes seems to be a waste of time.
People sing songs, say words, and seem to do nothing.
God, bless me with a faith that is fun.
God, bless me with a spirit that is exciting.
God, bless me with a religion that has a vision
- a vision of life and excitement
- a vision of love for others
- a vision of mercy and care for others
- a vision of justice and peace for the whole world.
God, bless me with the exciting spirit of Jesus Christ.
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