September 22, 2013: Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: The Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers
“…Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation…”
Themes from Catholic Social Teaching, USCCB
“By work and industriousness, man-who has a share in the divine art and wisdom-makes creation, the cosmos already ordered by the Father, more beautiful. He summons the social and community energies that increase the common good…” Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, (266)
First Reading: Amos 8:4-7
Psalm: 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8
Second Reading: 1st Timothy 2:1-8
Gospel: Luke 16:1-13 (Long Form) 16: 10:13 (Short Form)
Catechism of the Catholic Church
“A theory that makes profit the exclusive norm and ultimate end of economic activity is morally unacceptable. The disordered desire for money cannot but produce perverse effects. It is one of the causes of many conflicts which disturb the social order.”
“A system that ‘subordinates the basic rights of individuals and of groups to the collective organization of production’ is contrary to human dignity. Every practice that reduces persons to nothing more than a means of profit enslaves man, leads to idolizing money and contributes to the spread of atheism. ‘You cannot serve God and mammon.”(2424) From Introduction to the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C, Daily Roman Missal
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
“At the beginning of its history, the people of Israel are unlike other peoples in that they have no king, for they recognize the dominance of Yahweh alone. It is God who intervenes on Israel’s behalf through charismatic individuals, as recorded in the Book of Judges. The people approach the last of these individuals, Samuel, prophet and judge, to ask for a king. Samuel warns the Israelites about the consequences of a despotic exercise of kingship. However, the authority of the king can also be experienced as a gift of Yahweh who comes to the assistance of his people. In the end, Saul is anointed king. These events show the tension that brought Israel to understand kingship in a different way than it was understood by neighboring peoples. The king, chosen by Yahweh and consecrated by him, is seen by God’s son and is to make God’s dominion and plan of salvation visible. The king, then, is to be defender of the weak and the guarantor of justice for the people. The denunciations of the prophets focus precisely on the kings’ failure to fulfill these functions.” (377)
“…Far from being enslaved by things, the disciple of Jesus must know how to use them in order to bring about sharing and brotherhood.” (453)
“To the subjects, whether individuals or communities, that exercise ownership of various types of property accrue a series of objective advantages: better living conditions, security for the future, and a greater number of options from which to choose. On the other hand, property may also bring a series of deceptive promises that are a source of temptation. Those people and societies that go so far as to absolutize the role of property end up experiencing the bitterest type of slavery. In fact, there is no category of possession that can be considered indifferent with regard to the influence that it may have both on individuals and on institutions. Owners who heedlessly idolize their goods become owned and enslaved by them. Only by recognizing that these goods are dependent on God the Creator and then directing their use to the common good, is it possible to give material goods their proper function as useful tools for the growth of individuals and peoples.” (181)
1st Timothy 2:1-2
“Submission, not passive but “for the sake of conscience”, to legitimate authority responds to the order established by God…Freedom must not be used as a pretext for evil but to serve God. It concerns free and responsible obedience to an authority that causes justice to be respected, ensuring the common good.” (380)
“…Praying for rulers, which Saint Paul recommended even as he was being persecuted, implicitly indicates what political authority ought to guarantee: a calm and tranquil life led with piety and dignity. Christians must “be ready for any honest work”, showing “perfect courtesy towards all”, in the awareness that they are saved not by their own deeds but by God’s mercy. Without “the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior”, all people are “foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing (their) days in malice and envy, hated by men and hating one another”. We must not forget the miserable state of the human condition marred by sin, but redeemed by God’s love.” (381)
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Mammon, a Greek translation from Aramaic, specifies beyond worldly goods, to include privileges, status or social pedigree, that supersedes our true wealth in God. We cannot be enthralled with mammon and devoted to God. For we own, possess or hoard nothing of our own. If we love God, stewardship flows from our hearts filled with God’s grace. We delete usury charges, commissions of greed, that trample the economic stability of the needy. We see ephahs of our day diminished not just by a smaller bushel of goods to increase shekels of profits, but by exploiting workers’ rights to a living wage, safe working conditions and the right to voice concerns over practices that assault their dignity. We must speak the truth in faith, as our faith praises the Lord who lifts up the poor and the lowly from the dust of despair. Our actions must be initiated from supplications, prayers, petitions and thanksgiving offered for everyone, including leaders. Prayer pries the grasp of self-indulgence from our being, so we embrace the Divine as the essence of our existence flowing into the river of eternity.
Individual Reflection: Luke 16:1-13
Learn about Pax Christi’s consumerism packet, Through the Eye of A Needle. The five week program covers affluenza, overconsumption, sweatshops, the environment and simple living.
Family Reflection: Amos 8:4-7
As a family, watch Bread for the World’s DVD, A Place at the Table. Discuss how you might share the DVD at your parish before Thanksgiving or during Advent to raise awareness and initiate advocacy to address hunger.
Blogs to Visit:
As we reflect upon Mary’s presence in the mysteries of the Rosary, we are blessed to know her. For her journey, a timeless trek, calls us to surrender, continuing conversion, humbleness and justice now.
Weekly lectionary reflections, for faith sharing groups, parish bulletins, newsletters or personal prayer, from the synergy of the Word we hear and the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
Catholic Social Teaching offers seven principles for upholding life in our thoughts, decisions and actions.
How we do Catholic Social Teaching.
Creation sustainability ministry resources in the spirit of the St Francis Pledge.
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born September 9, 2013 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concerns.