Lectionary Reflections: Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time [c] October 23, 2016

Engaging Faith | Thu, Nov 17, 2016

By John Bucki, S.J.
Source: Education for Justice

Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time [c]

October 23, 2016


Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18

2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18

Luke 18:9-14



October 24: United Nations Day

October 26: International Red Cross organized in Geneva, Switzerland in 1863

October 24-30: Disarmament Week (

October 31: Halloween



The excluded are still waiting.

— Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 54

If religion has so neglected the needs of the poor and of the great mass of workers and permitted them to live in the most horrible destitution while comforting them with the solace of a promise of a life after death when all tears shall be wiped away, then that religion is suspect. Who would believe such Job's comforters? On the other hand, if those professing religion shared the life of the poor and worked to better their lot and risked their lives as revolutionaries do, and trade union organizers have done in the past, then there is a ring of truth about the promises of the glory to come. The cross is followed by the resurrection.

— Dorothy Day

Sophia pitches her tent in the midst of the world; … This is profoundly good news for person who are poor, denigrated, oppressed, struggling, victimized, and questing for life and the fullness of life, the majority of whom are women and their dependent children. 

— Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J., She Who Is, 516

The God of life summons us to life; more, to be life givers, especially toward those who lie under the heel of the powers.

— Daniel Berrigan, S.J.

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

Back in 1986, when the Catholic bishops of the United States published a pastoral on the U.S. economy and how it was working or failing to work in our country, we suggested that every time we make decisions, either as individuals but especially in groups, we must always ask three questions: What does it do to the poor? What does it do for the poor? And how do the poor participate? What if we asked those questions when we began to work for public policies in our country?

— Bishop Thomas Gumbleton


Thoughts for Your Consideration

As the United States election season plays out, we may experience lots of frustrations and distractions.  The scriptures and Catholic Social Teaching call us to focus on what is really important.  As it says in today’s first reading: “The LORD is a God of justice, who knows no favorites.” 

The first reading from Sirach reminds us of God’s special concern for the poor and for the oppressed.   God cares for all people. God does not want to forget those who are powerless or voiceless.  This is, of course, a radical statement to those of us who live in a society that seems to give special consideration to those who have lots of wealth or celebrity. [Some people even seem to worship celebrities.  Some people consider financial success as a measure of worth. Changes to US tax policies over the years seem to have reflected a preferential option for the rich.]  

The gospel today reminds us not to try to exult ourselves or focus too much on our own importance. It seems that Jesus is saying that we should rather forget all that and acknowledge our limits. God seems to be more pleased with the one who does not try to be the first or most important. This is radical “good news.”  We can relax and not worry about our score, our rating, our status, or our bank account.  We can be ourselves.  We can be free to live as Christians – as men and women for others.  We can focus on what is really important.  Real “greatness” is found not in being “better or bigger or wealthier” than another.

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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