July 17, 2011: 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity
First reading: Wisdom 12:13, 16-19
Second Reading: Romans 8:26-27
Gospel: Matthew 13:24-43
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Romans 8:26 paragraphs 30 and 38
Faith call us not to fear and retreat from the world, but grow to bear fruit. This means working alongside people that may not share our values, but we can be yeast to leaven change. If we uproot ourselves to interact with people that just look and believe like ourselves, we become judgmental and deny God cares for all with leniency and clemency. As people of faith we seek to be the wheat of the field, but some of our attitudes cause us to be weeds. If we strive to be just we must be kind. This is especially evident in society’s need to enhance the work of restorative justice with those incarcerated. Youth that might be sentenced for twenty five or thirty years, that becomes eternity, only to be released into a hollow, hopeless future. Or adults incarcerated and then sent back into society with a “record”, lacking job skills, means of financial support or a place to live, so they revert to past blunders. Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics suggest 44 percent of parolees will be arrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor within one year. After three years this increases to almost 70 percent, while those involved with motor vehicle thefts or stolen property, recidivism reaches close to 80 percent. As servants, may our prayers and actions, with the Spirit interceding, ask for God’s strength, mercy and kindness for those entangled in the criminal justice system, so their journey becomes a process of restorative justice — and we will all be transformed into the wheat of the field.
Individual Reflection: Matthew 13:24-43
Look into volunteer opportunities with your diocese’s restorative justice program.
Family Reflection: Psalm 86
Visit Homeboy Industries website: http://www.homeboy-industries.org
Talk about challenges youth face in your community and what your family could initiate to make systemic change for local youth to have a positive future.
The reflection may be reproduced in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concerns.