Engaging Faith | Fri, Jun 17, 2016
Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time [c]
June 26, 2016
1 Kings 19:16b, 19-21
Galatians 5:1, 13-18
June 26: International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
July 1: Canada Day
July 4: Independence Day in United States
In a world in which a lot is said about rights, how often is human dignity actually trampled upon! In a world in which so much is said about rights, it seems that the only thing that has any rights is money. Dear brothers and sisters, we are living in a world where money commands. We are living in a world, in a culture where the fixation on money holds sway.
-Pope Francis, 24 May 2013
The economy in fact is only one aspect and one dimension of the whole of human activity. If economic life is absolutized, if the production and consumption of goods become the center of social life and society's only value, not subject to any other value, the reason is to be found not so much in the economic system itself as in the fact that the entire socio-cultural system, by ignoring the ethical and religious dimension, has been weakened, and ends by limiting itself to the production of goods and services alone.
All of this can be summed up by repeating once more that economic freedom is only one element of human freedom. When it becomes autonomous, when the human person is seen more as a producer or consumer of goods than as a subject who produces and consumes in order to live, then economic freedom loses its necessary relationship to the human person and ends up by alienating and oppressing.
-John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 39-40
The God who enters into our history, sets us free from slavery and death, and brings life to his people because he is the Living One.
-Pope Francis, 16 June 2013
The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor.
-Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 2
Sometimes we are tempted to find excuses and complain, acting as if we could only be happy if a thousand conditions were met. To some extent this is because our “technological society has succeeded in multiplying occasions of pleasure, yet has found it very difficult to engender joy”. I can say that the most beautiful and natural expressions of joy which I have seen in my life were in poor people who had little to hold on to.
-Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 7
Thoughts for Your Consideration
The scriptures today address issues of liberty and freedom – the freedom to give up everything and follow Jesus on the Way – the freedom that gives us the ability to “serve one another through love” -- the freedom to give oneself unconditionally and completely to something that is most important and bigger than ourselves – the freedom to focus on God’s loving merciful way – the freedom to let go of selfishness and greed and worry.
Paul reminds the Galatians that the freedom of Christ must not end up being a new sort of slavery – a freedom to do anything regardless of how it effects others or a freedom from one thing only to be enslaved by something else. Christian faith is not just another ideology or set of ideas. It is a totally liberating commitment to God and to the common good.
In the last few weeks we have experienced the horrible mass shooting in Orlando, attacks on people of the LGBT community, and attacks on people of the Muslim faith. We have also experienced the loving response of people to those being attacked, the voices that have stood up for the LGBT community and people of the Muslim faith.
We are called by Christ to be people who have the freedom and loving spirit to act for the common good and in solidarity with those most in need and most excluded. We are called to be “one people healed of all division.’
The vision of Jesus is the vision of a group of liberated people focused on the journey and the goal. Jesus invites people to be free enough to focus their energy on a vision of life and love and service and solidarity. We are challenged today to be aware of those things that get in the way of this freedom and to walk in the values and life and joy of Jesus Christ.
If we take them seriously, the images of the first reading and the gospel are strong and powerful. As Paul reminds us: “Brothers and sisters: For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”
To read the rest of this reflection from John Bucki, S.J., as well as his reflection questions, faith in action links, prayers of intercession, and prayer meditations, become a member of Education for Justice: http://bit.ly/1Ezao3d.
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