Lectionary Reflections: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time [b] February 1, 2015

Engaging Faith | Fri, Jan 23, 2015

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

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time [b]

February 1, 2015

Copyright © 2015 Center of Concern


Deuteronomy 18:15-20

1 Corinthians 7:32-35

Mark 1:21-28



January 31: Feast of John Bosco, Patron of Youth & founder of the Salesians

February: African American History Month

February 1: Super Bowl Sunday

February 1: National Day of Prayer for the African American Family

February 2:  Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas), also Groundhog Day

February 6: International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation



Human hearts are yearning for a world where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity is found in respectful communion. Our faith can respond to these expectations: may you become its heralds

- Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Communications Day 2009


The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well. Nothing that is genuinely human fails to find an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community of people united in Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit in their pilgrimage towards the Father's kingdom, bearers of a message of salvation for all of humanity. That is why they cherish a feeling of deep solidarity with the human race and its history.

- - The Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes


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.

-- Bishops’ Synod, Justice in the World


Every Life is a Gift. 

- Pope Francis @Pontifex · January 22, 2015


How often we forget to dedicate ourselves to that which truly matters! We forget that we are children of God. 

- Pope Francis @Pontifex · Jan 18, 2015



Thoughts for your consideration

Jesus is described as one who teaches and speaks “with authority.”  

Jesus is one who can even command evil spirits to depart.

Jesus comes with a clear vision and the courage to speak clearly and boldly.

When Jesus is around things happen.

Such characteristics are essential for any contemporary prophet who will speak to the world a message of justice and peace.  Such characteristics are essential if we are to apply effectively the social teaching of the church to our contemporary world.  God is calling us to get things to happen.

The clarity of our vision and how it applies to the world develops out of a real understanding of the situation of the world and its people.  Our church must be connected with the lives of real people, especially those who are struggling or in need or economically poor.  We must come to know one another and learn from our diversity. Otherwise, we cannot be prophetic and speak with authority.  

The power of our preaching must come out of a deep faith in a God who calls us to work for justice, to ask questions and to speak up.  Without the faith that calls us to ask questions, we cannot be prophetic and speak with authority.

In a certain sense, the power of our preaching and actions can perform an “exorcism” on the world, driving out the evil spirits of injustice, poverty, violence, and selfishness and inviting in the good spirits of justice, peace, community and economic well-being for all.


Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

When have you experienced someone who “taught with authority?”

How did this impact you?

Did this person have a “social – ethical message” that made a difference?


What experiences helped you to connect to people different than yourself?  

What experienced help you to be immersed in the world of someone else?  

How did help you to understand the gospel in a new way?



"What on earth are you doing?" said I to the monkey when I saw him lift a fish from the water and place it on a tree.

"I am saving it from drowning'," was the reply. 

This is from Anthony DeMello’s collection of stories The Song of the Bird.


Actions - Links

The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace can be found on line at: 


Catholic Relief Services produces which “connects key global issues such as hunger, migration, HIV & AIDS and international poverty to the university classroom and campus.” Catholic Relief Services also produces an action center for people to take online action on issues of global poverty. Find it at:


“Crazy Facts”

16 states have more people in prisons and jails than college housing.



According to a report from Reporters Without Borders, there was a profound erosion of press freedom in the United States in 2013. After a year of attacks on whistleblowers and digital journalists and revelations about mass surveillance, the United States plunged 13 spots in the group’s global press freedom rankings to number 46.




• Two thirds of the 774 million adult illiterates worldwide are women – the same proportion for the past 20 years and across most regions.

• Gaps between girls’ and boys’ primary enrolment have closed in the majority of countries, but gender parity is still a distant goal for some.

• 72 million children of primary school age are not attending school, out of which over 39 million (or 54 per cent) are girls.

• Worldwide, women account for slightly more than a quarter of all scientific researchers – an increase compared to previous decades but still very far from parity.

• Use of and access to the Internet grew exponentially in the past decade, narrowing the gender digital divide – however, women still do not have the same level of access as men in most countries, whether more or less developed.



Prayers of Intercession

Response: God, bless all those who struggle for justice.

For all those suffering in any way, we pray….

For all those who suffer from poverty, we pray….

For those who have lost jobs or homes, we pray….

For all those denied their basic human rights and dignity, we pray….

For those who do not have an opportunity of education, we pray….

For all those struggling and taking risks to create a world of justice and peace, we pray….

For all those working to create a profound respect for life in all it forms, we pray….

For those promoting the care for the earth as a gift from God to be shared by all, we pray….

For all those speaking out and acting with a passion for nonviolence and peace, we pray….

For all those facing opposition and persecution as they try to live out the values of Christ, we pray….


Prayer – Meditation

Mother -- Father God:  Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.

Let us hear again the challenge of the great prophets.

Let us do what is right and love with enthusiasm.


Sophia – Wisdom: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.

Help us to discern the way of peace.

Help us to discern the way of right action.


God of heaven and earth: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.

Let us hear again the stories of our ancestors in faith.

Let us create new stories today – stories of faith in action.


God of peace and justice: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.

Help us to listen to the world and the cries of those in need.

Help us to respond in solidarity with all those in need.


Holy Spirit: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.

Fill us with an enthusiasm and joy for what is right and good.

Fill us with virtue that we might do what is good for all.