February 9, 2014: Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
“While the common good embraces all, those who are weak, vulnerable and most in need deserve preferential concern. A basic moral test for our society is how we treat the most vulnerable in our midst. IN a society marred by deepening disparities between rich and poor, Scripture gives us in the story of the Last Judgment (see Matthew 25:31-46) and reminds us that we will be judged by our response to the “least among us.” (50) Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, USCCB
First Reading: Isaiah 58:7-10
Psalm: Psalm 112:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Second Reading: 1st Corinthians 2:1-5
Gospel: Matthew 5:13-16
Catechism of the Catholic Church
“The origin and purpose of mission. The Lord’s missionary mandate is ultimately grounded in the eternal love of the Most Holy Trinity: ‘The Church on earth is by her nature missionary since, according to the plan of the Father, she has as her origin the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit.’ The ultimate purpose of mission is none other than to make men share in the communion between the Father and the Son in their Spirit of love.” (850)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
In the Old Testament a twofold attitude towards economic goods and riches is found. On one hand, an attitude of appreciation sees the availability of material goods as necessary for life. Abundance — not wealth or luxury — is sometimes seen as a blessing from God. In Wisdom Literature, poverty is described as a negative consequence of idleness and of a lack of industriousness (cf. Prov 10:4), but also as a natural fact (cf. Prov 22:2). On the other hand, economic goods and riches are not in themselves condemned so much as their misuse. The prophetic tradition condemns fraud, usury, exploitation and gross injustice, especially when directed against the poor (cf. Is 58:3-11; Jer 7:4-7; Hos 4:1-2; Am 2:6-7; Mic 2:1-2). This tradition, however, although looking upon the poverty of the oppressed, the weak and the indigent as an evil, also sees in the condition of poverty a symbol of the human situation before God, from whom comes every good as a gift to be administered and shared. (323)
Rays of sunlight transform into electrical energy via photovoltaic cells. Living faith, not just accepting faith, and you are transformed to be the light of the world by your good deeds. Deeds that energize others to remove from our environs oppression, false accusations and malicious speech, while bestowing bread on the hungry and satisfying the afflicted. For in sharing our bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and homeless, clothing the naked and not turning our back on our own, our wounds will be quickly healed. Our woundedness inflicted by not asking why and who are oppressed, from selfishness of not sharing our loaf of bread, of insensitivity when someone is homeless and not having an awareness of the naked vulnerability of workers in menial jobs facing hazardous working conditions. In addressing the challenges of others in our world, we not only serve others, but we are healed from what separates us from God. This moves us from darkness into light. The cloud of gloom hovering in our midst becomes like the light of midday. A light infusing mercy and justice, with a firm heart from trusting the Lord. Even when the hopelessness of evil reports permeates the airways, fear does not reside where light permeates. The proclamation of light, a paradox to human wisdom, emulates from Jesus and the cross, a demonstration of Spirit and power – the power of God.
Individual Reflection: Isaiah 58:7-10
Compare this reading to Matthew 25:31-46. How are parishioners at your parish encouraged and involved to address these needs? What ways might these words be integrated more deeply into the life of your parish? How might you or a group you are involved in facilitate this? Motivate your parish to ask why the poor and vulnerable face challenges and seeks ways of empowerment.
Family Reflection: Matthew 5:13-16
Try different seasonings, besides salt, this week when preparing meals. Use fresh or dried herbs and cooking sauces. Research the cultural heritage of each item.
Lord thank you for illuminating us from darkness. Help us to see our woundedness, so we are transformed to be light to those wounded in our world. When we fear to step into the light, let our hearts always trust the Holy Spirit to be the salt of the earth by living mercifully, justly and graciously from your abundance present in our lives.
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. https://csmresources.wordpress.com/
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 January 24, 2014 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern