July 13, 2014: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
Jesus takes up the entire Old Testament tradition even with regard to economic goods, wealth and poverty, and he gives them great clarity and fullness (cf. Mt 6:24, 13:22; Lk 6:20-24, 12:15-21; Rom 14:6-8; 1 Tim 4:4). Through the gift of his Spirit and the conversion of hearts, he comes to establish the “Kingdom of God”, so that a new manner of social life is made possible, in justice, brotherhood, solidarity and sharing. The Kingdom inaugurated by Christ perfects the original goodness of the created order and of human activity, which were compromised by sin. Freed from evil and being placed once more in communion with God, man is able to continue the work of Jesus, with the help of his Spirit. In this, man is called to render justice to the poor, releasing the oppressed, consoling the afflicted, actively seeking a new social order in which adequate solutions to material poverty are offered and in which the forces thwarting the attempts of the weakest to free themselves from conditions of misery and slavery are more effectively controlled. When this happens, the Kingdom of God is already present on this earth, although it is not of the earth. It is in this Kingdom that the promises of the Prophets find final fulfilment. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, (325)
First Reading: Isaiah 55:10-11
Psalm: 65:10, 11, 12-13, 14
Second Reading: Romans 8:18-23
Gospel: Matthew 13:1-23
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Jesus asks for childlike abandonment to the providence of our heavenly Father who takes care of his children’s smallest needs: “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?”. . . Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” (305)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Fifth Sunday of Easter, Cycle A
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Jesus takes up the entire Old Testament tradition even with regard to economic goods, wealth and poverty, and he gives them great clarity and fullness (cf. Mt 6:24, 13:22; Lk 6:20-24, 12:15-21; Rom 14:6-8; 1 Tim 4:4). Through the gift of his Spirit and the conversion of hearts, he comes to establish the “Kingdom of God”, so that a new manner of social life is made possible, in justice, brotherhood, solidarity and sharing. The Kingdom inaugurated by Christ perfects the original goodness of the created order and of human activity, which were compromised by sin. Freed from evil and being placed once more in communion with God, man is able to continue the work of Jesus, with the help of his Spirit. In this, man is called to render justice to the poor, releasing the oppressed, consoling the afflicted, actively seeking a new social order in which adequate solutions to material poverty are offered and in which the forces thwarting the attempts of the weakest to free themselves from conditions of misery and slavery are more effectively controlled. When this happens, the Kingdom of God is already present on this earth, although it is not of the earth. It is in this Kingdom that the promises of the Prophets find final fulfilment. (325)
The universality of this hope also includes, besides the men and women of all peoples, heaven and earth: “Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may sprout forth, and let it cause righteousness to spring up also; I the Lord have created it” (Is 45:8). According to the New Testament, all creation, together indeed with all humanity, awaits the Redeemer: subjected to futility, creation reaches out full of hope, with groans and birth pangs, longing to be freed from decay (cf. Rom 8:18-22). (123)
Romans 8:19-22 and Romans 8:20
With her social doctrine not only does the Church not stray from her mission but she is rigorously faithful to it. The redemption wrought by Christ and entrusted to the saving mission of the Church is certainly of the supernatural order. This dimension is not a delimitation of salvation but rather an integral expression of it. The supernatural is not to be understood as an entity or a place that begins where the natural ends, but as the raising of the natural to a higher plane. In this way nothing of the created or the human order is foreign to or excluded from the supernatural or theological order of faith and grace, rather it is found within it, taken on and elevated by it. “In Jesus Christ the visible world which God created for man (cf. Gen 1:26-30) — the world that, when sin entered, ‘was subjected to futility’ (Rom 8:20; cf. Rom 8:19-22) — recovers again its original link with the divine source of Wisdom and Love. Indeed, ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only Son’ (Jn 3:16). As this link was broken in the man Adam, so in the Man Christ it was reforged (cf.Rom 5:12-21)”. (64)
Human activity aimed at enhancing and transforming the universe can and must unleash the perfections which find their origin and model in the uncreated Word. In fact, the Pauline and Johannine writings bring to light the Trinitarian dimension of creation, in particular the link that exists between the Son—Word — the Logos — and creation (cf. Jn 1:3; 1 Cor 8:6; Col1:15-17). Created in him and through him, redeemed by him, the universe is not a happenstance conglomeration but a “cosmos”. It falls to man to discover the order within it and to heed this order, bringing it to fulfilment: “In Jesus Christ the visible world which God created for man — the world that, when sin entered, ‘was subjected to futility’ (Rom 8:20; cf. ibid. 8:19-22) — recovers again its original link with the divine source of Wisdom and Love”. In this way — that is, bringing to light in ever greater measure “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph 3:8), in creation, human work becomes a service raised to the grandeur of God. (262)
Not only is the inner man made whole once more, but his entire nature as a corporeal being is touched by the redeeming power of Christ. The whole of creation participates in the renewal flowing from the Lord’s Paschal Mystery, although it still awaits full liberation from corruption, groaning in travail (cf. Rom 8:19-23), in expectation of giving birth to “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev 21:1) that are the gift of the end of time, the fulfilment of salvation. In the meantime, nothing stands outside this salvation. Whatever his condition of life may be, the Christian is called to serve Christ, to live according to his Spirit, guided by love, the principle of a new life, that brings the world and man back to their original destiny: “whether … the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours; and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor 3:22-23) (455)
In her social doctrine the Church offers above all an integral vision of man and a complete understanding of his personal and social dimensions. Christian anthropology reveals the inviolable dignity of every person and places the realities of work, economics and politics into an original perspective that sheds light on authentic human values while at the same time inspiring and sustaining the task of Christian witness in the varied areas of personal, cultural and social life. Thanks to the “first fruits of the Spirit” (Rom 8:23), Christians become “capable of discharging the new law of love (cf. Rom 8:1-11). Through this Spirit, who is ‘the pledge of our inheritance’ (Eph 1:14), the whole man is renewed from within, even to the achievement of ‘the redemption of the body’ (Rom 8:23)”. In this sense the Church’s social doctrine shows how the moral basis of all social action consists in the human development of the person and identifies the norm for social action corresponding to humanity’s true good and as efforts aimed at creating the conditions that will allow every person to satisfy his integral vocation. (522)
See, hear, understand. Three words where we refrain from talking to listen. In the silence of our experience a pause from first impressions, quick judgments, understanding percolates from cerebral analysis to the depths of our hearts to define a new balance in our lives. A process leading to conversion, where seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness and gentleness find rich soil and produce fruit a hundred or sixty or thirty fold. This heals us from an agenda susceptible to being scorched, withered or choked.
The Word of God, seed with potential, is abundantly sown in our hearts, but we must surrender the hardness of our hearts to let the grace take root. An experience where we embrace the sower, as Jesus softens our hearts by sharing His ways to enrich our faith. Then our eyes can see with purpose beyond ourselves and our ears can hear with compassion. Otherwise the potential of the Word is stolen away, the joy lost, choked by anxiety or lure of earthly riches to lose the experience of the heart and accompanying transformational healing.
A seed that grows produces fruit, from tomatoes on a vine or heads of grain in a wheat field. A collective, inter-connective process. God’s seed, the Word, is given not to return to God void, but to do His will in the interconnected web of humanity and achieve the end for which He sent it. How do you nurture your heart to make it good ground that will yield a fruitful harvest for the Lord? To acknowledge and know the sower is in your midst, let the Eucharist unite you, prayer guide you, the Holy Spirit empower you and loving service define you. Then the seed sent is not returned unopened and written on through inaction “Return to Sender”. For seeds have a multitude of possibilities and we cooperate in God’s kingdom by letting the Word placed in our heart achieve the ends for which God sent it. Spend time observing the world with eyes that are blessed to see. Spend time listening to the world with ears that are blessed to hear. Not just what you want to see and hear, with righteous indignation, but blessed to see and hear the reality and diversity of the world. A journey Jesus forged for us on the path of His human journey and taught us to heal brokenness, welcome the stranger and love as we have been loved. Then the seeds He sows in our hearts will indeed bear fruit and yield a hundred, sixty or thirty fold.
Individual Reflection: Matthew 13:1-23
Does your diocese have a program to accommodate the needs of the deaf, with Mass in sign language? If not, work to raise awareness of this need. If this need is being met, attend a Mass in sign language.How does the experience help you to better “hear” the challenges faced by deaf persons?
Family Reflection :Isaiah 55:10-11
July 14 th is the memorial for St Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American saint. Plan to attend a Native American Mass and experience the rich symbolism.
We thank you God for the diversity and richness of seeds sown in our lives. Let us never shun the experience of where they can take us. Help us to keep our eyes open with a panoramic perspective. Let our ears not be muted by headphones playing our song. For we praise you for sowing seeds in abundance, even when the conditions are not optimal, the road is parched and weeds abound in our lives, for your abundance of love for u, wherever we are at, startles our hearts to receive your love, the love of your Son, the comfort of the Holy Spirit. We thank Mary, the Holy Mother, for her example of faith and intercessions in accompanying us to bear fruit from the gifts we have been given. In Jesus dear name we pray, Amen.
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.
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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 June 27, 2014 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern