Lectionary Reflections: Twenty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time [c] September 4, 2016

Engaging Faith | Fri, Aug 26, 2016

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

Twenty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time [c]

September 4, 2016



Wisdom 9:13-18b

Philemon 9-10, 12-17

Luke 14:25-33



September 5: Labor Day in the United States

September 8: International Literacy Day

September 11: Anniversary of the Terrorist Attacks of 2001



The individual today is often suffocated between two poles represented by the State and the marketplace. At times it seems as though the individual exists only as a producer and consumer of goods, or as an object of State administration. People lose sight of the fact that life in society has neither the market nor the State as its final purpose.

-John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 49

The rush and pressure of modern life are a form of its innate violence. To allow myself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many projects, to want to help everyone in to succumb to violence. The frenzy of the activist...destroys the fruitfulness of one's own work because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.

-Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, 81

“Do not accumulate wealth while millions are hungry.  Do not take as the aim of your life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure. Live simply and share time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.” […] Once we are able to life simply and happily, we are better able to help others.

-Thich Nhat Hanh, “See the Suffering”, World Religions Reader, 421

It is not wrong to want to live better; what is wrong is a style of life which is presumed to be better when it is directed towards "having" rather than "being", and which wants to have more, not in order to be more but in order to spend life in enjoyment as an end in itself. It is therefore necessary to create life-styles in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of common growth are the factors which determine consumer choices, savings and investments.

-John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 36

Jesus wants neither selfish Christians, who follow their egos and do not speak with God, nor weak Christians, without will: "remote-controlled" Christians, incapable of creativity, who seek ever to connect with the will of another, and are not free. 

-Pope Francis, 30 June 2013

New forms of slavery such as human and organ trafficking, forced labor, and prostitution are true crimes against humanity. 

-Pope Francis @Pontifex, 23 August 2016


Thoughts for Your Consideration

Jesus seems to be saying that if you do not know your limits, you will end up doing “stupid things.” You end up building a house which you cannot finish. You end up fighting a war that you cannot win. You end up attaching excessive value to your possessions. You will end up not doing the life giving things God wants. You may even end up hurting others as well as yourself.

The first reading also reminds us of our limits. The world is more than the material. Material possessions are not to be the defining things of our existence. “A human person is of more value than the entire world.”

Jesus goes so far as to say that we should renounce our possessions. It seems that so many people spend their life and all their energy getting, protecting and worrying about more and more material things. Jesus invites us to a freedom from all that. In other words, we are called to renounce materialism and keep our values in perspective. We might even hear a call to adopt a simpler style of life and move away from the “consumerism” that dominates our culture. We might hear the call of the encyclical Laudato Si’ and look at creation in a new way with a more profound respect.

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:

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