October 16, 2011: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Call to Family, Community and Participation
First Reading: Isaiah 45:1, 4-6
Second Reading: 1st Thessalonians 1:1-5b
Gospel: Matthew 22:15-21
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church: Matthew 22:15-22
“Jesus refuses the oppressive and despotic power wielded by the rulers of nations and rejects their pretension in having themselves called benefactors..In his pronouncement of paying taxes to Caesar, he affirms that we must give to God what is God’s, implicitly condemning every attempt at making temporal power divine or absolute: God alone can demand everything from man…Jesus, the promised Messiah, fought against and overcame the temptation of a political messianism..He is the Son of Man, who came to serve…Jesus teaches them (his disciples) that they must make themselves least and the servants of all.” Paragraph 379
Nationalism does not substitute for faith in God. Pledging allegiance to war, the death penalty, a minimum wage and not a living wage, homelessness, classifying people as illegal and using the earth in greed must not echo from our lips. An ignorance, by amnesia, to the reality of government policies holds no excuse for us to prioritize a faith grounded in nationalistic pride over faith in God. God’s grace and peace that came to us not in word alone, but also in the power of the Holy Spirit, helps us to sing a new song in all the lands we inhabit, among all people. For all the gods of nations are things of nought, but awesome is He, the Lord who made the heavens. He governs the people with equity and we must be servants to extol our nations to proclaim similar decrees and prioritize for justice, peace and the common good.
Individual Reflection: Psalm 96
As you sing the Gloria and recite the Creed at Mass, let the words remind you of your fidelity to God and values inherent in your faith.
Family Reflection: 1st Thessalonians 1:1-5b
Visit the website of Bread for the World Institute Hunger Report: http://www.bread.org/hungerreport
Discuss how nations’ actions support or neglect nutritional equity in the world. What actions might your family take, as a labor of love, in faith and enduring hope to promote food justice by advocacy and consumer decisions.
The reflection may be used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concerns.