Engaging Faith | Thu, Feb 5, 2015
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time [b]
February 15, 2015
Copyright © 2015 Center of Concern
Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46
1 Corinthians 10:31--11:1
February 14: Saint Valentine’s Day
February 16: Presidents Day
February 17: Mardi Gras
February 18: Ash Wednesday. Beginning of Lent
February 19: Chinese New Year
February 20: World Day for Social Justice http://www.un.org/en/events/socialjusticeday/
The solidarity which binds all people together as members of a common family makes it impossible for wealthy nations to look with indifference upon the hunger, misery and poverty of other nations whose citizens are unable to enjoy even elementary human rights. The nations of the world are becoming more and more dependent on one another and it will not be possible to preserve a lasting peace so long as glaring economic and social imbalances persist.
- John XXIII, Mater et Magistra, #157
How can it be that even today there are still people dying of hunger? Condemned to illiteracy? Lacking the most basic medical care? Without a roof over their heads? . . . Christians must learn to make their act of faith in Christ by discerning His voice in the cry for help that rises from this world of poverty.
- John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte, no. 50
… We must come to grips with the first of these challenges: solidarity among generations, solidarity between countries and entire continents, so that all human beings may share more equitably in the riches of our planet. This is one of the essential services that people of good will must render to humanity. The earth, in fact, can produce enough to nourish all its inhabitants, on the condition that the rich countries do not keep for themselves what belongs to all.
- Benedict XVI, 16 June 2005
You are a Christian only so long as you constantly pose critical questions to the society you live in ... so long as you stay unsatisfied with the status quo and keep saying that a new world is yet to come.
- Henri Nouwen
Today, a new dimension is being added to the phenomena of exploitation and oppression, a very harsh and graphic manifestation of social injustice: those who cannot be integrated, the excluded, are discarded, the “leftovers”. … This happens when the deity of money is at the centre of an economic system rather than man, the human person.
- Pope Francis, 28 October 2014
Thoughts for your consideration
The first reading reminds us of the social effects of a disease like leprosy in biblical times and even today. Not only is a person’s body effected, but also his or her relationship with family and community. In the gospel, the healing work of Jesus not only cures the person, but also allows him to reenter the community. Human solidarity is restored. Relationship with the community is healed. This level of healing is what Catholic social teaching is about.
Solidarity is one of the key values in Catholic Social Teaching. So many things in our contemporary world prevent solidarity. Today’s readings invite us to reflect on many of the issues that divide our world and its people: racism, economic inequalities, unemployment, international debt, lack of access to medical treatment, militarism, terrorism, discrimination against women, political divisions, etc. etc.
We are called to be like Paul in the second reading who strives “for the benefit of the many” – who seeks the common good – who wants to heal the divisions.
We might use the readings today to reflect on contemporary diseases that our world is struggling with, like Ebola, AIDS, and measles.
We might want to reflect on the racial divides in the United States that have become more and more apparent this past year.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
When have you observed or been part of a group of people being “left out” because of some form of discrimination? Have you experienced some healing of this division?
In the gospel Jesus heals the person who is ill. He makes someone “clean.” How would you describe the cleansing or absolving or healing that is needed in our social situation today?
When have you felt that you have been judged or pre-judged by your race?
When you have caught yourself judging someone because of their race?
A tale from Attar of Neishapur from Anthony DeMello’s The Song of the Bird
The lover knocked of his Beloved’s door.
“Who knocks?” said the Beloved from within.
“It is I,” said the lover.
“Go away. This house will not hold you and me.”
The lover withdrew and pondered for years on the words the Beloved had said. Then he returned and knocked again.
“It is you.”
The door was immediately opened.
Actions - Links
10 Ways to Help End the Horror of Human Trafficking from the Sisters of Mercy
Ending Child Poverty Now from the Children’s’ Defense Fund
“More than a third of all of the food that's produced on our planet never reaches a table. It's either spoiled in transit or thrown out by consumers in wealthier countries, who typically buy too much and toss the excess. This works out to roughly 1.3 billion tons of food, worth nearly $1 trillion at retail prices.” http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/01/150122-food-waste-climate-change-hunger/?now=2015-01-22-00:01
“The financial collapse crippled the middle class and poor — consuming the savings of millions of average Americans, and causing 23 million to lose their jobs, 9.3 million to lose their health insurance, and some 1 million to lose their homes. A repeat performance is not unlikely. Wall Street’s biggest banks are much larger now than they were then. Five of them hold about 45 percent of America’s banking assets. In 2000, they held 25 percent.” http://robertreich.org/post/109234867870
“Just 32 zip codes are “likely to be key” for establishment Republican presidential candidates, according to The Wall Street Journal. These neighborhoods aren’t key because they are vote-rich or represent a cross-section of America, but because they are filled with really rich people who are generous political givers.” http://everyvoice.org/posts/32-key-zip-codes-2016-super-wealthy-super-white
“The wealth of white households was 13 times the median wealth of black households in 2013, compared with eight times the wealth in 2010, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. Likewise, the wealth of white households is now more than 10 times the wealth of Hispanic households, compared with nine times the wealth in 2010.”
Prayer of Intercession
Response: Lord, we turn to you in our troubles.
For a healing of our political conversations and campaigns which are so polarizing and divisive, we pray….
For our political leaders that they will work together for the common good and especially for economic justice, we pray….
For a nation where the weak are protected, and none go hungry or poor, we pray….
For a nation where our resources are directed toward human needs, we pray….
For a nation where the environment is respected and we use our resources responsibly for the common good, we pray….
For a nation where different races and cultures live in tolerance and mutual respect, we pray….
For a nation where we can bring an end to war and to all our preparations for war, we pray….
For a nation where peace is built with justice and justice is guided by love, we pray….
Prayer - Meditation
O Lord, open my eyes that I may see the needs of others; open my ears that I may hear their cries; open my heart so that they need not be without succor; let me not be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong, nor afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich ... And so open my eyes and my ears that I may this coming day be able to do some work of peace for thee.
- Alan Paton
Prayer for Justice #1
Father, you have given all peoples one common origin.
It is your will that they be gathered together
as one family in yourself.
Fill the hearts of mankind with the fire of your love
and with the desire to ensure justice for all.
By sharing the good things you give us,
may we secure an equality for all
our brothers and sisters throughout the world.
May there be an end to division, strife and war.
May there be a dawning of a truly human society
built on love and peace.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord.