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Lectionary Reflections: Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time [b] August 16, 2015

Engaging Faith | Fri, Aug 7, 2015

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]

August 16, 2015

Copyright © 2015 Center of Concern

Readings

Proverbs 9:1-6

Ephesians 5:15-20

John 6:51-58

 

Calendar

August 14: Feast of St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe

August 15: Feast of the Assumption of Mary

August 23: International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

 

Quotes

Our planet is a homeland and humanity is one people living in a common home.

-Pope Francis, Laudato Si, 164

The development of peoples depends, above all, on a recognition that the human race is a single family working together in true communion, not simply a group of subjects who happen to live side by side. … It is not by isolation that man establishes his worth, but by placing himself in relation with others and with God. 

-Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 53

For believers, the world derives neither from blind chance nor from strict necessity, but from God's plan. This is what gives rise to the duty of believers to unite their efforts with those of all men and women of good will, with the followers of other religions and with non-believers, so that this world of ours may effectively correspond to the divine plan: living as a family under the Creator's watchful eye. 

-Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 57

The Church's social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society. It offers moral principles and coherent values that are badly needed in our time. In this time of widespread violence and diminished respect for human life and dignity in our country and around the world, the Gospel of life and the biblical call to justice need to be proclaimed and shared with new clarity, urgency, and energy.

-US Bishops, Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions

Catholic social teaching is built on a commitment to the poor. This commitment arises from our experiences of Christ in the Eucharist. … We are called to reach out and to build relationships of love and justice.  …  Our commitment to the Catholic social mission must be rooted in and strengthened by our spiritual lives. In our relationship with God we experience the conversion of heart that is necessary to truly love one another as God has loved us.

-US Bishops, Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions

 

Thoughts for your consideration

Proverbs uses wisdom language to talk about God.  The US Bishops remind us, “the Church's social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society.”  As we celebrate the wisdom that comes from God and the wisdom that is God, we will not want to forget the communal and social parts of this wisdom and strive to put that wisdom into action.

In today’s gospel, some in the community miss what Jesus is getting at and end up quarreling about the literal meaning of the words. Thus they miss the major transforming message of Jesus.  Sometimes religious people can miss the most important things.  Jesus is about nourishing people with a new spirit and giving us all something new, transformative, and powerful.  The wisdom of Jesus is not an esoteric religious message, but one with a powerful social meaning to heal and transform our world with all of its problems and issues.  Jesus offers the wisdom and grace to get into action for a better world.

We must keep this in mind as we listen to Paul’s words to the Ephesians: “Watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity.”  Now is the time to connect our faith to the world.  Now is the time to live out the call to nonviolence, justice, and care for one another. Now is the time for the people of the world to work together for the common good.  Benedict XVI wrote in Caritas in Veritate:

The development of peoples depends, above all, on a recognition that the human race is a single family working together in true communion, not simply a group of subjects who happen to live side by side. … It is not by isolation that man establishes his worth, but by placing himself in relation with others and with God.

Pope Francis continues this teaching in Laudato Si (13-14):

The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. ... Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. [...] We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. [...] We require a new and universal solidarity.

 

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

  • As you reflect on your religious faith and experience, what Christian wisdom do you feel speaks most powerfully to our world situation?

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  • As your reflect on your religious faith and experience, what Christian wisdom do you feel speaks most powerfully to our world situation, especially to the violence in the Middle East and other troubled parts of the world? What speaks to the challenges of global climate change?

 

Story

The Truth Shop

I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the name of the shop: THE TRUTH SHOP.

The salesgirl was very polite: What type of truth did I wish to purchase, partial or

whole? 

The whole truth, of course. No deceptions for me, no defenses, no rationalizations.

I wanted my truth plain and unadulterated. She waved me on to another side of the store.

The salesman there pointed to the price tag. “The price is very high, sir,” he said.

“What is it?” I asked, determined to get the whole truth, no matter what it cost. 

“Your security, sir,” he answered.

I came away with a heavy heart. I still need the safety of my unquestioned beliefs.

From Anthony DeMello’s The Song of the Bird

 

“Crazy Facts”

  • “Fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3 trillion a year, equivalent to $10 million a minute every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund.”
  • “The IMF calls the revelation ‘shocking’ and says the figure is an ‘extremely robust’ estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels. The $5.3tn subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments.”
  • “The vast sum is largely due to polluters not paying the costs imposed on governments by the burning of coal, oil and gas. These include the harm caused to local populations by air pollution as well as to people across the globe affected by the floods, droughts and storms being driven by climate change.”

From http://bit.ly/1UqYWAl

 

Actions – Links

Energydesk

  • Energydesk is a project of Greenpeace devoted to reporting on climate and energy issues. Stay up to date at: energydesk.greenpeace.org 

Earthjustice

  • “Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment.” Learn more at: http://earthjustice.org/
  • Take action on various environmental issues at: http://earthjustice.org/action 

 

Prayers of Intercession

Response: Sophia, Wisdom, listen to us in our need.

God, help us to overcome all injustice and violence with the creative loving spirit of Jesus Christ.

God, help us to bring an end to this era of terrorism and violence that so violates the spirit of Jesus Christ.

God, help us to respect our common home, the earth, and work together to respect the environment. 

God, help us to understand and respect all our brothers and sisters.

God, help us to value individuals and work to end torture and the trafficking in human beings.

God, help us to learn to listen to one another and enter into healthy political dialogue.

God, help us create a society that offers justice for all people, especially the poor.

God, let us live “not as foolish persons, but as wise” empowered by the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

 

Prayer – Meditation

O persistent God,

let how much it all matters

pry be off dead center

so if I am moved inside

     to tears

          or sighs

                or screams

                      or smiles

                            or dreams,

they will be real

and I will be touch with who I am

and who you are

and who my sisters and brothers are.

From Ted Loder, Guerrillas of Grace

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If you want to connect with Jesus as the “living bread,” you might find this prayer useful.

A prayer for spiritual nourishment from Joyce Rupp can be found at: http://bit.ly/1SV69eL

 

Images

http://1.usa.gov/1BP6GRs

http://1.usa.gov/1bvluIh