Engaging Faith | Mon, Feb 23, 2015
Second Sunday in Lent [b]
March 1, 2015
Copyright © 2015 Center of Concern
Second Sunday in Lent [b]
March 1, 2015
Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
March is Women’s History Month
March 3: World Wildlife Day
March 5: Purim (Jewish Festival)
March 8: International Women’s Day
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
The fundamental starting point for all of Catholic social teaching is the defense of human life and dignity: every human person is created in the image and likeness of God and has an inviolable dignity, value, and worth, regardless of race, gender, class, or other human characteristics.
- Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice, a Statement of the Catholic Bishops of the United States
The recent crisis demonstrates how financial activity can at times be completely turned in on itself, lacking any long-term consideration of the common good. …. What the fight against poverty really needs are men and women who live in a profoundly fraternal way and are able to accompany individuals, families and communities on journeys of authentic human development.
- Benedict XVI, Message for the World Day for Peace, 1 January 2009
It seems as if a shadow has fallen over our time, preventing us from clearly seeing the light of day.
- Benedict XVI, Message for the World Day for Peace, 1 January 2012
Our goal should not be the benefit of a privileged few, but rather the improvement of the living conditions of all.
- John Paul II, Message of Lent 2003
A merciful heart does not mean a weak heart.
- Pope Francis, Message for Lent 2015
Thoughts for Your Consideration
The gospel story of the transfiguration is about seeing in a new way.
In the midst of our complex contemporary world, the gospel of Jesus Christ invites us to be free enough to see things in a new way.
In the midst of war and violence, the gospel invites us to see the presence of God and to hear God’s invitation to peace.
In the midst of poverty and injustice, the gospel invites us to hear God’s invitation to respect the dignity of every human person and the need for justice for all people.
In the midst of economic injustice and inequality, the gospel invites us to focus on those values that are really most important and to focus on something bigger than ourselves.
In the midst of human activity that damages our planet and changes the climate, we are called to respect the planet, live simply, and focus on what is really important.
Abraham learned to hear God’s desires in a new way; he came to see that God did not want the death of his son. Maybe, in some analogous way, we have been learning to understand the social implications of the gospel. Maybe we have been learning the same thing, as we have been learning to challenge war as the solution to disputes and to question the policies of our nations. Maybe we have been learning the same thing, as our church is beginning to move away from support for the death penalty. Maybe we have been learning the same thing as we have been learning to speak up for justice for all those who are oppressed in any way. Maybe we have come to see that war and injustice, poverty and hunger, do not have to be.
The Transfiguration is a sign of great hope. It is possible to see the presence of God in Jesus. It is possible to see things in a new way. It is possible to see God in others. It is possible to let go of racism, to let go of an addiction to money, to let go of power and control, to let go of violence, to let go of inaction, to let go of our blindness and selfishness. It is possible to solve international problems without war. It is even possible to let go of the religious experience on the mountain and come down and find God in all things and all people. It is possible to see the world as a global community and to see all people as our brothers and sisters.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
- How has your awareness and commitment to Christian values changed over the years?
- How have you grown in your commitment to social issues?
- To issues of peace and justice?
- This Lent, how is God calling you to see things in a new way – from a new point of view?
- What is your experience of working with immigrants and refugees?
- Do you know any? How have they taught you to know or see?
Dog and the Cod Liver Oil: Spiritual Story by Anthony de Mello
A man began to give large doses of cod-liver oil to his Doberman because he had been told that the stuff was good for dogs. Each day he would hold the head of the protesting dog between his knees, force its jaws open, and pour the liquid down its throat.
One day the dog broke loose and spilled the oil on the floor. Then to the man's great surprise, it returned to lick the spoon. That is when he discovered that what the dog had been fighting was not the oil, but his method of administering it.
The Troubles Tree: http://www.parablesite.com/
The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit, and now his ancient pickup truck refused to start. While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. After opening the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss. Afterward, he walked me to my car. We passed the tree, and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier. "Oh, that's my trouble tree," he replied. "I know I can't help having troubles on the job, but one thing for sure, troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and the children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning, I pick them up again." "Funny thing is," he smiled, "when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren't nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before."
Actions – Links
Justice for Immigrants
“Immigration Reform: Your Lenten Promise” is a toolkit for working for justice for immigrants.
The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace can be found on line at
Justice for Immigrants
Lenten Fast for Climate Justice
International Women’s Day
March 8 is International Women’s Day. For information go to:
http://www.internationalwomensday.com. For a history of the day go to:
The Girl Effect Fact Sheet
“There are still 31 million girls of primary school age out of school. Of these 17 million are expected never to enter school.”
Over the last nineteen years, sea levels around the Miami coast have already gone up 3.7 inches and by 2100 the rise may be three feet.
Prayers of Intercession
Response: God, help us to see with a new vision.
For all those experiencing poverty and suffering, we pray….
For those who are unemployed and underemployed, we pray….
For all those involved in war and strife, we pray…
For all those who are victims of torture or any form of violence, we pray….
For women and girls who experience injustice and exclusion, we pray….
For all people and nations working to enjoy basic human rights, we pray….
For immigrants and refugees, we pray….
For our planet earth and all our natural gifts, we pray….
For responsible behavior by all to reduce our carbon footprint, we pray…
For our political leaders as they try to help us work for the common good, we pray….
Prayer - Meditation
God, help me to see.
God, help me to see your wonders.
God, help me to see your goodness all around me.
God, help me to be fearless.
God, help me to be fearless in my seeing.
God, help me to be fearless in seeing whatever is there.
God, help me to see the dignity and wonder of my sisters and brothers.
God, help me to see the dignity and wonder of people as they are.
God, help me to see the dignity and wonder even when I am overwhelmed by my judgments.
God, help me to be part of the world.
God, help me to be part of the world in its beauty and goodness.
God, help me to be part of the world in its diversity and mystery.
God, give me the courage to look at the sin of the world.
God, give me the courage to look at the sin of the world with a loving heart.
God, give me the courage to look at the sin of the world with a forgiving spirit.
God, heal our violence, racism, sexism, militarism, greed, and pride.
God, heal our culture, our nation, our rivalry, our jealousy.
God, heal our political institutions, our government, our political parties, and our religions.
God, heal our limited perspective and open our eyes wide.
God, heal our parochial plans and let our vision include the whole world.
God, heal our tiny projects and make them projects for the big world.
God, make us new.
God, make our institutions new.
God, make all things new and renewed.
Watch this 6 minute video about Wealth Inequality in America: http://youtu.be/QPKKQnijnsM